By Rosemary K. Otzman
At the Feb. 10 meeting of the Belleville Area District Library board, the board voted unanimously to change the beginning time of each month’s meeting in hopes Sumpter Township residents will be able to attend.
Starting in June, the library board meetings will begin at 7:30 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month and that time will continue throughout the rest of the year.
Board chairperson Mary Jane Dawson asked them to wait until the June meeting to begin the new time since the next newsletter comes out in May and she wanted to allow the public to be informed of the time change.
“We can’t just change it right now,” Dawson said. “We need to give community members notice. If you continue telling people when you’re going to be meeting, to try to get them to come, you can’t arbitrarily change the time.”
On Jan. 13, her first meeting after being sworn in to her board position, LaChelle Reed Caver asked Dawson to put the board meeting schedule on the agenda.
Dawson put it on the Feb. 10 agenda and Caver thanked her for that. Caver, who lives in Sumpter, said maybe the board could meet on a different day, since Sumpter residents already have a township board meeting on the same night as the library board and are unable to attend both meetings at once.
The district library serves the communities of Belleville, Van Buren, and Sumpter.
After board members went over the days the board possibly could meet, they found, again, various members were busy and/or the meeting room was busy on every other day. Board members said they did want to keep away from weekends because they felt people had other things to do and didn’t want to have meetings then.
Library Director Debra Green said, “Maybe we could change it to 7:30 p.m. Then interested people could get to our meeting after the Sumpter meeting.”
Sumpter resident Mary Ban, who regularly goes to the Sumpter Township board meeting at 6:30 p.m. and comes to the library meeting late, after the Sumpter meeting had adjourned, said the time change might work.
The Independent also sits through the complete Sumpter meeting, which usually ends around 7 p.m., and then drives to Belleville to arrive late for the library meeting, which began at 7 p.m..
At the Feb. 10 meeting, there were just three people in the audience: Ban and the Independent reporter (who both arrived late) and David Wilson, who apparently arrived on time.
At the end of the meeting, Caver again thanked Dawson for putting the item on the agenda and thanked Green and Deputy Director Mary Jo Suchy for coming up with the solution.
In other business at the Feb. 10 meeting, the board:
• Approved putting the new board treasurer Tonya Stoudemire as a signatory on the library bank account;
• Heard a six-month financial report by Ron Traskos, CPA. Also, the audit by Alan C. Young & Associates of the library financials for year ending June 30, 2014 was presented;
• Heard board member John Juriga report that on Jan. 18 the new library windows were installed and since then the fascia around the windows have been done. Employees report their working areas are much warmer now. Also, Green said between the new heat tape, new commercial gutters, and the new windows, they have not had the problem of ice dams and related ice accumulation on the walkway. She said replacement of ceiling tiles in the staff room can now begin since the problem of the ice dams appears to be abated;
• Heard Dawson announce her new committee assignments for board members: Finance – Stoudemire (chair) and Sharon Peters; Marketing – Peters (chair) and Juriga; Personnel – Mike Boulter (chair) and Stoudemier; Bylaws – Joy Cichewicz (chair) and Caver; Policy – Caver (chair) and Boulter; and Building – Cichewicz (chair) and Juriga;
• Heard Boulter announce that the outside pay phone at the library is the only pay phone for 12 miles and he is proud the library board decided to let it remain. “If we pay $1,300 a year for a stupid phone, it’s not so stupid a phone”;
• Heard Peters say that local author Beverly Jenkins, who recently spoke at a library book club, is featured in a documentary on Romance Novels which was to debut that week end in Washington, D.C. Peters said Jenkins is a “longtime friend to me”;
• Reminded everyone to get people to fill out their library surveys. Director Green said as of 5 p.m. that day there were 563 filled out totally. Green said she was given permission by the school superintendent to talk to principals about getting the library surveys out through the PTOs. Green also said there was no speaker at a recent Rotary Club meeting, so she had Rotarians fill out the library survey “as a public service.” Peters said she put a thing on her Facebook page with a link to the library site to encourage people to fill out the survey;
• Heard Lindsay Lore, one of the library’s shelving pages and a Belleville High School New Tech student, speak about her class’ literacy project. One part is a book drive of new or gently used books for the school libraries. Another project was recording books for classes. She said about 100 students took part, each person recording five books. They also are collecting money for earphones and Nooks to be passed around the district. For more information, email: Lindsay.Lore@bhsnt.org ;
• Heard Green report on the library’s ongoing literacy program. The library will be doing another training program for tutors. Those interested in learning how to read or interested in becoming a tutor may contact the library; and
• Heard Peters say that now that she’s on the board she regularly comes to the library to check it out and likes to stop to read The New York Times. She was told the annual subscription for that paper is $800.
By Rosemary K. Otzman