LAB Minutes August 19, 2014

Sonoma County Library

Rohnert Park-Cotati Library Advisory Board Minutes

August 19, 2014 – 4:00 P.M.

Library Conference Room

6250 Lynne Condé Way, Rohnert Park, CA 94928



Vice Chair Barbara Mackenzie called the meeting to order at 4:03 pm. All present introduced themselves; this was our first meeting with new Library Commissioner Hilary Smith.



Barbara Mackenzie, Lisa Neuson, Brian Masterson, Matthew Weinstein.

Others Present:  Library Commissioner Hilary Smith, SCL Director Brett Lear, Rohnert Park City Council Liaison Amy Ahanotu (Vice Mayor), Cotati City Council Liaison Wendy Skillman (Vice Mayor), Branch Manager Nancy Kleban.

Guests: None

Not present: Youth Member Adrian Monter, Friends of the Library President Pam Novelly.



The meetings of February, April and June 2014 consisted of informal discussions with no action items addressed due to the lack of a quorum. Amy Ahanotu asked Director Brett Lear to check with the legal department for advice on how to proceed when there is no quorum.






A revision to the bylaws was approved to reflect the every-other-month meeting schedule (third Tuesdays of February, April, June, August, October and December), and to establish October as the month for election of officers. A motion made by Mathew Weinstein and seconded by Lisa Neuson was approved by the voting members.





Member Matthew Weinstein has a new job schedule and will be able to attend future meetings. Brian Masterson will contact Dr. Robert Haley, Superintendent of the Cotati Rohnert Park Unified School District, to again relay our interest in having a local teacher on the Library Advisory Board. Hilary Smith will retrieve Mary Getman’s application from Paul Heavenridge.


Amy Ahanotu has resigned as Library Commissioner and will remain as City of Rohnert Park liaison. The deadline for submission of applications for Rohnert Park Library Commissioner is Wednesday.



The plan to provide library cards to all Rancho Cotate High School students is somewhat delayed. Dawn Mawhinney, Vice Principal, who initiated the plan, has moved to another school. RCHS has not responded to recent telephone calls. Brian Masterson offered to speak to Rancho’s principal and ask for a liaison. Amy Ahanotu will talk to the school board trustees, bringing a library card application form for their review.


Two other SCL branches are planning similar outreach programs. Nancy Kleban will talk to Kiyo Okazaki about joining forces and/or sharing ideas. Brett Lear suggested a letter for parents of incoming school children, on a large scale that could include all schools. He will work on the countywide level and will talk to the Commission. We discussed offering an amnesty on past fines to Rancho students, possibly with contributions solicited from the Friends of the Library to pay back fines, which could be in exchange for volunteer hours at the library. A library card online registration procedure, connected to school online orientation and registration, would be an efficient way to carry out library registrations on campus. Brett suggested a library promotion to parents and students: preparing for the school year by having pen, paper, and library card. The Advisory Board and Friends at this branch would like to roll out the outreach along with celebrating the renovated teen space with a party later in the fall.


At our December meeting, we will discuss a more formal operational approach, including a visit to the School Board, and approval of our library card application by the School District so that it can be distributed in classrooms.



Barbara Mackenzie reported on recent meetings of the Citizens for Sonoma County Library, formerly the Kitchen Cabinet. Previously, a professional pollster reported a 2/3 support for a sales tax measure but not strong support for a property tax measure. The Board of Supervisors agreed to put the sales tax measure on the November ballot. In essence, a 1/8 cent sales tax will cost the average Sonoma County citizen about $18 a year or $1.50 per month.  Measure M will pass if 2/3 of those voting vote for it. Flyers are being prepared, with the help of a campaign consultant, and there is a FaceBook presence. Revenues from the tax will allow the libraries to open up on Mondays, expand other hours, add back canceled programs, refresh some of the facilities, and more. With the measure now on the ballot, no political activity is permitted on library time or on library premises.


The ordinance is available through the Library website and includes an expenditure plan. Details will be added later, for example number of computers, branch hours, etc.


If the measure is placed on the November 4, 2014 ballot and if approved by the voters, the ordinance effective date will be contingent upon the California Legislature enacting legislation raising the cap on local sales tax in Sonoma County by .125%, the amount of the tax. The legislative session, which goes into recess on August 31, has a large collection of bills to consider and they are vying for attention.



A gathering has been planned for Saturday, September 20, 9:30 am until 3 pm, at the Rincon Valley branch meeting room. All LAB members are invited. The program includes a morning focus on the purpose of LABs and how to make LABs more effective. After brief updates from all LABs, Director Brett Lear will give a keynote speech and there will be a panel discussing the sales tax measure. Afternoon breakout sessions are planned to include goals and objectives; communicating with the Commission, other LABs and the community; and keeping the LABs vital. Lunch will be provided.





Hilary Smith reported that the new 11-member Library Commission is seated, and the new Joint Powers Agreement became effective on August 1. Commissioners are getting acclimated. Meetings continue on the first Monday of the month at 6:30 in the Santa Rosa City Council chambers. Meetings are streamed live and the videos are archived. The Commission has established committees to work on by-laws and on the evaluation of the Library Director.



Brett Lear reported on the formation of a strategic planning project that will include gathering citizens’ expectations and priorities, brought to the library staff for implementation. A trained facilitator may be contracted to lead the process. LAB members will be invited to participate on the teams. Goals and objectives developed will then become the primary focus of library activities.



Branch Manager Nancy Kleban reported that the teen space is progressing but not completed yet: computers, signage and additional shelving units are still to come. Many of the collections in the children’s room were shifted in early August for better usage of shelving space. One of our part time librarian technicians accepted a full-time job at another branch, and our part time librarian is working as interim branch manager at another branch. The Library has added a 38,000 ebook collection called ENKI, and a business database called Reference USA to its collection of databases available through the new website. Many library users are not aware of these electronic offerings.



Youth member Adrian Monter was not present.



Vice Chair Barbara Mackenzie gave the FOL report. Joan Schmutz, manager of the bookstore for the past 11 years, is resigning her 3-day a week job, as is another 3-day a week longtime Friends manager. A subcommittee has formed to discuss plans for moving forward. A grand opening for the teen space, later in the fall, can be funded by using part of the LAB’s annual $500 budget combined with a contribution from the Friends of the Library. The Friends’ presence at National Night Out in early August was a great success with members dressed in Dr. Seuss hats, giving out candy and discount coupons for the FOL Book Store, and some free kids books, too. This year’s event had a much larger attendance.




Councilmember Wendy Skillman reported that Cotati’s accordion festival took place this past weekend, and the albino tree has been safely relocated. Cotati’s City Manager is resigning and there is a meeting this evening to strategize.


Rohnert Park Councilmember Amy Ahanotu reported that the City is planning a Founders Day celebration on September 20 and 21. Public Safety’s Running of the Pack may be cancelled due to loss of the person who was timing the runners and reporting according to age and gender.






The meeting adjourned at 5:27 p.m.