Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Library's public rooms not for private parties

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

The Westchester Public Library Board is considering adding language to its meeting room services policy stating family events, such as wedding and baby showers or other private parties, are not permitted activities.

Such events are actually not permitted currently, nor have they ever been, said WPL Director Phil Baugher, but it is not made explicit in the current policy. In light of a recent request by a community member to hold a shower in the library, Baugher said he thought it would be wise to clearly state the prohibition in the policy.

The meeting rooms -- one at Thomas Library, one at Hageman Library, and one the Library Service Center -- are only available to non-profit organizations or groups that offer an educational service to the community, Baugher told the Chesterton Tribune.

For-profit groups or businesses may only use the meeting rooms if they are sponsoring a certain activity that helps build community and are not profiting monetarily, Baugher said. Activities in the libraries are required to be open to the public.

Baugher also sought a change in the deadline by which groups will need to make or renew standing reservations for the year, for meetings that occur at the same time and location on a regular basis. The deadline will be Dec. 15 instead of Dec. 31. Standing reservations will be permitted for one meeting per week.

Baugher asked the board to consider the changes and take a vote at the next meeting.

The board did vote to renew the standing policy regarding the non-resident fee, which is $175 per year. That’s based on the average operating expenditures per capita.

Cameras for tutor rooms

In equipment purchases, Baugher proposed installing security cameras in the Thomas Library’s Bertha Wood room for the safety of both students and the volunteer tutors, who will now be asked to use the room for tutoring sessions.

Baugher said the tutoring sessions on the main floor have garnered some complaints from patrons wanting to read or work quietly. Requiring the sessions be held in the meeting room could solve that, he said.

Board members Michelle Corazzo and Drew Rhed suggested that, for added safety, the doors to the meeting room remain open during tutoring sessions. Baugher agreed that would be a possibility.

WPL has in its policies already that volunteer tutors have background checks when they fill out an application with the library, Baugher said.

Vacant positions

With Thomas Branch Librarian Leea Yelich succeeding Baugher as WPL Director in September, candidates will be sought to fill the branch librarian position. The minimum salary is $38,000.

Those who apply will need to have a degree related to library sciences in order to be considered.

Additionally, Baugher said a job opening notice will be posted this week for a circulation manager position with a proposed starting salary of $25,000.

Baugher said WPL plans to have an open house in September for community members to meet Yelich, welcoming her as the new director. He will introduce her to the Chesterton Rotary at its meeting on May 26, and other upcoming community events.

“We don’t want the ghost of directors past haunting over our events. We’d like to introduce (Yelich) to the community,” Baugher said.

Book sale

Baugher said the Friends of the Library raised $4,595 in sales during its spring sale last month, with $542 in memberships. The Friends plan on giving WPL a donation of $7,000.

E-book service

Baugher announced the OverDrive service will discontinue offering audiobooks on Windows Media Player formats, which will reduce the available audiobooks at WPL by about 10 percent, Baugher said. WPL’s newer service, Hoopla, however has just added E-books to be checked out by patrons along with comic books.

Hoopla has been well received, Baugher added, and WPL is on track to spend $12,000 to provide the service this year.

Web statistics

The board received statistical data from WPL’s IT manager Joe Harry regarding visitors to the Library’s website.

Harry has started using Google Analytics, which can monitor the number of site visits and sessions, how long the pages are being looked at, and where the site visitor is from, even from half way around the world.

Harry said that the site received approximately 10,000 visits last month, which seemed to pleasantly surprise the board.

On a related note, Baugher said that a link will be put on the WPL website sometime before July 2016 for visitors to access the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance’s Gateway system and examine the budgets and financial data of the library.

This is due to a new state law passed this year, SB 369, requiring local governments to post finances on the internet for the public to view.

 

 

Posted 5/15/2015