Chesterton Tribune



Library board tables salary discussion, plans nonprofit night

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Further discussion of giving Westchester Public Library full-time staff a raise in salary competitive with surrounding libraries will be bumped to next month’s WPL board meeting.

The board held a meeting last week exclusively to discuss a salary study looking at what other libraries in Porter, Lake and LaPorte counties pay in similar positions and different levels of maximum and minimum salaries.

WPL Director Leea Yelich said she would look at the budget and consult the Library and Book Trade Almanac to best determine what the salaries should be.

At Thursday’s regular board meeting, Yelich told the board she would need more time.

“I don’t think it would be good for me to just throw something out there without adequately preparing,” she said.

Yelich said she would have the figures ready by the board’s June meeting which is to include a draft of the 2017 budget.

In a related matter, the board briefly discussed the state’s PERF Hybrid and Annuity Savings Account retirement plans offered to government employees and will look deeper into how they could work into employee’s compensation and pay restructuring.

Non-profit night

Springing off the success of last year’s event, WPL will co-sponsor another non-profit network volunteer night at the Spa Banquet Center, 333 N. Mineral Springs Rd. in Porter, on Thursday, June 16 from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

The format is for local non-profit groups to set up designated tables. The organizations and members of the general public can network to learn about volunteer opportunities with each non-profit.

The Spa, which recently opened its new Speakeasy, will be serving light refreshments.

Extra Hours at Hageman

Yelich said the Hageman Library Branch in Porter has recently done a count of how many patrons visit throughout the day.

Branch Manager Suzi Chomel has suggested having the Library open two extra hours on Fridays, extending from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., first as a test. The opportunity might be suitable for the library to add some family programming in the early evening and Friday is a popular time for patrons to check out DVDs, Yelich said.

Board member Drew Rhed said he has no problem with the Library giving the extra hours a try.

Yelich mentioned in her Librarian’s report that Hageman can stagger staff hours so there wouldn’t be a need to hire a new clerk.

Teen Council

Thursday’s agenda included a presentation by the WPL Teen Advisory Council but no Council member showed up to the meeting. Instead, Thomas Branch Librarian Julia Bowersox spoke a few minutes on the purpose of having a Teen Council, which formed last year.

“One of the goals is to bring in more young people so they are comfortable here. One other goal is to get them to help us with programs,” Bowersox said, adding that “it’s a good group” and participants earn community service points.

One of the projects worked on, she said, is getting new furniture for the teen room.

In other business Thursday:

-- The board voted unanimously to renew the non-resident user fee at $175 per year.

-- Yelich said she is attending a Library Director’s meeting Friday to talk about the potential of accepting credit cards from patrons to pay fees. She said it is getting more common for people to use only a credit card and not carry cash.

-- The Friends of the Library Spring Book Sale received $4,382 in sales and $642 in memberships. An additional $2,420 was raised from online sales of rare books and magazines. The Friends presented WPL with a check of $7,000 for the gift fund.

-- The board met in executive session after the meeting to discuss the potential acquisition of real property. A property owner near the cloverleaf at Ind. 49 and U.S. 20 has considered donating a parcel of land to the Library.



Posted 5/16/2016





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