The Belleville Area District Library Board invites the public to breakfast at the library at 10 a.m., Saturday, April 30, to talk about building a new library.
The menu will be fruit, muffins, quiche, bakery items, hash-brown casserole, coffee and other enticements to lure the public in to ask them what they would like to see in a new library.
District Library Board Chairman Mary Jane Dawson said everybody wants to know, “Where, when, and how will a new library be built?” She said the board wants to get public input on this subject.
The session is expected to be an hour-and-a-half to two-hours long and will include a brief history of the library, an introduction of the architects and their slide show, public input and handouts, and brain-storming.
A question-and-answer session is sure to bring up the question of where the library will be built and the board will provide the parameters set by the library agreement addressing the site.
The public forum was discussed briefly at the March 8 meeting of the library board.
In other business at the March 8 meeting, the library board hired Gerald Kruse as a financial consultant at a cost of $40 per hour which is expected to total under $4,000 over the next six months.
Kruse will help identify and assist in installing appropriate accounting software, help establish procedures which will insure appropriate internal control over financial assets, help train accounting personnel, and help frame policies and assist in selection of an audit firm.
Kruse came recommended by board secretary Joy Cichewicz, since she knew his work with the Ypsilanti District Library, where Cichewicz is a librarian.
Kruse said he started over 50 years ago in public accounting consulting, achieved his CPA in the 1960s and kept it until the ‘70s when he went into the education profession and put his CPA designation into escrow. In the 1990s he was teaching about Certified Management Accountants and a student asked if he was a CMA. He wasn’t, so he qualified for that designation, too.
He said he taught eight years at Wayne State University and then went to Sienna Heights and taught every class in the business department. He retired in 2001 and began a part-time practice working with non-profits.
Board treasurer Elaine Gutierrez said the finance committee met with Kruse in a three-hour marathon session and, “He’s divine intervention. He came when we needed him desperately. He answered our questions and listened to our woes.”
She said later, “He’s just lifted this huge weight off my shoulders.”
In the past the library’s books were handled by the City of Belleville, but now with the large millage proceeds, they will be brought inside.
Later in discussing the accounts payable, it was noted checks 1210 and 1211 had to be voided since the city made them out from the Belleville District Library to the Belleville District Library, when they should have been made out to the Friends of the Library.
In other business at the March 8 meeting, the board:
• Reviewed the district library’s first balance sheet, which they plan to have quarterly. Gutierrez said the district has $438,963.51 on hand and it needs to be invested appropriately. She said that the library is really going over its budget, especially with the newsletter, and they will have to do an amended budget at the next meeting. She noted $10,100 is in the “library construction fund” and was told that was from two donations, but they were not actually restricted to construction by the donors;
• Discussed the job offering for Student Technology Assistant at a salary of $7.40 to $9.50 per hour;
• Approved paying $225 for five webinar courses for board members;
• Was informed the district library has requested $2,135 from the Belleville Downtown Development Authority for performers for the Summer Reading Program. The library would pay the balance of the $8,520 cost of the activity;
• Learned there were 51 applicants for the administrative assistant position and library officials will be choosing candidates to interview and expect to have the new hire on board in April;
• Learned the Friends purchased four different eBook readers for the library and patrons will be able to try out, in the library, a Kindle, iPad, Nook (color), and a Sony; and
• Discussed the problems at the Romulus Library, which may close, and questions about whether patrons from Romulus and Huron Township could use the Belleville Area District Library. Library Director Deb Green said she is trying to keep up with the unfolding events in Romulus and the library is still open. “We do not sell library cards at this point,” Green said. “We cannot provide library service free to other communities and charge our own [with taxes].” She said there have been questions about whether other communities could join the Belleville district.