Chesterton Tribune



Township Library Board looks to update policies, keeps attorney

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The Westchester Public Library Board met for its final meeting of the year on Thursday where it talked about updating its meeting room, emergency and library vehicle policies.

According to the proposed policy, group renting meeting rooms outside of normal business hours will need to pay a library clerk at their hourly pay rate so that they may unlock the building and lock it afterwards, as well as making sure kitchen equipment is turned off.

Currently, a representative of the group who is meeting is given a key to lock up after the meeting if it runs past normal business hours. If the policy meets the board approval at the board’s January meeting, keys will no longer be let out to group representatives.

Groups are also encouraged to contact in advance the Library’s IT Department for access to any audio/visual equipment and setup.

WPL Director Leea Yelich said those renting the room also must respect equipment at the library being stored by others. The library does end up storing a lot of equipment, she said.

In revisions to the emergency policy, library staff and volunteers will receive training periodically for CPR, AED and other safety education starting in 2017.

Also, the Library’s administrative assistant will decide whether library facilities should be closed due to weather, health or unsafe conditions the WPL Director is absent or unavailable. If both of them are unavailable, the Thomas Branch Librarian will be in charge of making the decision.

The Library Vehicle Policy is proposed to include rules for Library employees driving their personal vehicles for Library business, such as the Homebound program

When using a personal vehicle for library business, the employee driving the vehicle will be responsible for maintaining their vehicle in safe working condition. They would too be responsible for paying any maintenance costs or repairs and have adequate insurance. If any damage occurs, the WPL Director must be notified.

Employees using their personal vehicles will be required to keep track of their mileage while on business.

2017 plan

In other business, Yelich told the Board she has updated the WPL 2017 Plan of Service to include references to the Baugher Center, replacing the Library Service Center.

Goals for 2017 include expanding audiovisual circulation, circulation service, children’s programming, and adult programming, all by five percent. The Library also plans to create a full-time manager’s position of the Library’s Graphic and Publicity Department next year.

Special projects for next year include assessing and determining the proper course of action for remediation of Hageman Library’s parking lot, a reseal and restripe of all library facility parking lots, updating landscaping to match new exterior signage, replacing the sidewalk in front of Thomas Library, creating a new website, building a larger shed at Hageman, consider replacing rear doors at Thomas and Hageman libraries and replacing street lights at the Baugher Center to match other lights on the street.

In 2017, the Library plans to have an operating fund balance of $245,897 at the end of the year, according to the Plan of Service.

Yelich said Library staff will also be trained on internal control standards to meet requirements recently instated by the State Board of Accounts. The standards are for local government bodies throughout the state and training is required for any employee who handles public money in some fashion.

The intention is to promote more government accountability and transparency, the SBA’s website states.

Attorney contract renewed

In actions by the board, unanimous favor was given to accept a legal services agreement with Chesterton attorney Terry Hiestand for another year. Hiestand will earn $15,000 in 2017, the same for the current year which saw an increase of about $3,000 from 2015.

The board decided it would also recommend reappointment of members Kathryn Cochran and Michael Livovich, whose terms are to expire in 2017. Cochran is a Duneland School Board appointment and Livovich is a Porter County Council appointment.

Community survey

The board talked briefly about putting together a community survey early next year.

“It will tell what your current and future needs will be,” Hiestand told the board.

Board member Rondi Wightman said there may be university students who can help conduct the survey for class credit.

Librarian’s report

In her Director’s report, Yelich said the new exterior signage is delayed due to an issue with the masonry. The board agreed to encumber funds until the work is finished.

Yelich said she reached out to excavators and a civil engineer about the holes in Hageman parking lot. R.V. Sutton determined that a piece of asphalt will need to be removed to see what is below and the hole will be filled in for the winter until warmer weather when more repairs can be done.

A problem with the compressor switches for the boiler at Thomas Library has been corrected as parts were replaced by Johnson Control. The switches had been causing some of the building to get “uncomfortably warm.” Also, the elevator at Thomas has been fixed after being out of service for over a week.

The month of November saw a total of 30 percent more in active resident borrowers than in November 2015 for the whole WPL system and 34 percent more active non-resident borrowers.



Posted 12/19/2016





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