By Rosemary K. Otzman
A proposed six-page survey of library users will be voted on at the Nov. 18 meeting of the Belleville Area District Library board.
The survey will be used to help the library board decide what to do next in the wake of the overwhelming defeat of its two proposals in the Aug. 5 primary election.
Voters turned down a .96-mill proposal for 20 years to build a new, 45,000-square-foot library on the lake in Van Buren Township, plus upgrading a part of the community center in Sumpter for a branch. Voters also said no to 1 mill more for library operations.
At the Sept. 9 meeting, the board considered an eight-page survey prepared by board secretary Joy Cichewicz. After discussion, Cichewicz said she would sit down and hone it down to make it shorter – and she did, by two pages.
The slightly shorter draft survey was discussed at length at the Oct. 14 library board meeting.
Among many questions, the survey includes questions on how much more the anonymous person filling out the survey would be willing to pay for a new library.
“People could say everything is excellent, but not be willing to pay for it,” Cichewicz said. “…They have nothing to gain by being dishonest.”
“Everyone would be able to take this survey and we can work out the percentages,” said Chris Brasil.
Cichewicz said she would recommend using Survey Monkey software to tally the answers. She said she is familiar with the system.
Joe Monte agreed. He said he has used Survey Money a few times and it is easy to use.
At the Nov. 18 meeting, the board will look at it again and decide whether to insert the survey in the library newsletter at the end of December, but encourage people to complete the survey on line.
Cichewicz said her first draft of the survey was longer because, “It had the kitchen sink in it.”
She said workers can input the data from surveys filled out by hand and that would give the board every comment submitted. She said it would cost $300 or less to do a Survey Monkey for a year’s subscription.
Library Director Deb Green asked Cichewicz to send out her final draft by email to her and board members before the November meeting so everyone can study it before a vote is taken.
In other business at the Oct. 14 meeting, the board:
• Heard John Juriga report he had approved accepting a $600 bid on roof wiring to melt off ice and snow and that it will have ground fault surface interrupter equipment in the library office. He also said he has contacted the 34th District Court work program to get two painters to paint over the graffiti remnants on the aluminum siding and got two bids for a vinyl or aluminum siding on other parts of the building. He said Excel Co. bid $2,282, which he called “a decent bid,” and Home Depot bid $5,192, which was “twice as much.” He said he needs to get a bid on the gutters for the 70’ portico. He said the gutters there are 4” and they should have been 6”. He said in the past someone tried to save money;
• Approved the Picture Media Consent Policy that says people who are at library functions automatically give consent to be photographed for use in print and/or electronic publicity for the library;
• Approved the policy that the library does not allow petitioning, solicitation, distribution of literature or leaflets, canvassing or similar types of appeals by members within the facility. Also, people who wish to do the above outside may do so as long as they do not impede access by the public to the facility. During a discussion on the policy, Cichewicz said she doesn’t want to be petitioned in the parking lot or on the porch. She was told to just say no;
• Heard Director Green report that there were over 600 people at Harvest Fest and Cichewicz is the backbone of the library’s Harvest Fest activities, also supervising the petting zoo and the horses. Cichewicz and her husband Rick will be speaking at the library on Nov. 13 about their trip to Cuba, with pictures;
• Heard Green report that six members of the Canton Library staff recently came to tour the Belleville Library as part of a professional development day. “It was, I won’t say embarrassing, but we looked pretty shabby,” Green said, adding, that the group said they liked the courtyard;
• Heard Cichewicz say that recently the 24 library employees were made a “political toy in the campaign battle for this board.” She praised the staff and said she talked with people and “not one person had a complaint about the staff. I’m proud of the staff.” Other board members agreed that the staff was wonderful.
After the meeting, the Independent asked Cichewicz what she was talking about. She said almost all those running for the board said the “staff needs to be held accountable.”
A spokesperson for the Common Cents slate said the candidates never had a problem with the library staff and never said anything about the staff. The slate members called for accountability in library oversight and operations, which refers to the library board and director, she said.
By Rosemary K. Otzman