Library Director Lisa Stamm reported at the WPL Board of Trustees meeting
Thursday night that WPL will be renewing its involvement in the national
1,000 Books Before Kindergarten initiative.
1,000 Books Before
Kindergarten is meant to encourage parents to bond with their children
through reading--especially newborns and toddlers. Stamm said the children’s
manager noticed that WPL hasn’t officially participated in the initiative in
a few years and decided to renew the effort. The Thomas and Hageman branches
are working together to customize the programming to suit WPL. The program
will include kick-off events starting in September and graduations.
Stamm noted that
1,000 books seems like a lot, but “you can do it if you read three books a
night for a year.” She also said research has shown over and over the
benefits of getting children started on reading at a young age.
Stamm reported that
the Thomas Branch children’s department received a new friend for its
stuffed animal mascot, Buddy the dog. Buddy’s new buddy, Pal the stuffed
dog, was donated by a grandmother who regularly attends story time with her
Stamm said she
enjoys reporting on positives as well as facts as Director. Part of her
approach is finding out from employees what’s going on day-to-day and
including it in her report. She said, “I ask them to send us the real heart
of what we’re doing.”
On the side of
facts, Stamm said WPL had 34,992 visitors during June. The Library hosted 86
programs that had 1,376 attendees, and 50 non-library groups used meeting
rooms. Among the hit events were a beach glass jewelry making class hosted
by the Department of Natural Resources and the “movers and shakers” and
“messier the better” children’s programs at Hageman.
Stamm said Horizon
bank has been working dutifully to resolve issues with the credit and debit
card machines and software WPL has been trying to acclimate to, but there
are ongoing problems. “The entire process is proving to be more complex than
we were told it would be,” she said. Horizon will be sending a higher-up to
meet with her about the problems soon. Stamm reported if a more formal
software increases the workload on WPL employees too much, Square card
readers could be an option.
The Board approved
a draft of the 2019 budget. Before Stamm started in April, former Library
Director Phil Baugher served as the interim-director and began drafting the
budget. Stamm took over and made some changes after being hired.
Stamm went over the
major changes for the Board. This year one of WPL’s employees is moving up
in pay scale because she gained her Master of Library Science degree and
$50,000 has been allocated in the case an assistant director is hired, so
professional salaries went up to $240,000 from $145,000 in 2018. Cleaning
and sanitation supplies was bumped up from $12,000 in 2018 to $15,000
because Baugher wanted to build in a safety net for those items.
The biggest change,
Stamm reported, is the other professional services line item, which is
increasing from $45,000 to $118,442. Stamm explained the change, “First off,
we saw our snow removal costs triple last year, so I want to be prepared in
case that were to happen again.” This line item will also cover the cost of
having Chester Inc. conduct a technology audit on the WPL system and making
changes to the technological infrastructure so it runs more smoothly-- a
project Stamm set in motion right after starting.
In terms of
materials, in 2019, WPL will have an additional $4,000 to spend on
children’s materials at Hageman, an additional $10,000 to spend on adult
audiobooks at Thomas, and an additional $500 for children’s audiobooks at
Thomas. Stamm said she made that increase by reducing the allocation for
Thomas CDs by $10,500 upon noticing a significant decline in CD rental and a
surge in audiobook rentals.