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Director’s Report to the Board of Trustees for September

In September New City Library returns to regularly scheduled library hours of service to the public.  (Once the new system is installed we know that this should be the last time it will be a challenge to change the telephone message from summer hours to winter hours.)  We are pleased that the Library will be offering continuing and new programs that we trust will be well-received and successful.  The Fall 2013 issue of Fine Print, Newsletter of the New City Library was published on the web site, and many copies are available at various library locations.  Fine Print is also distributed to over 7,500 cardholders who provided their email addresses.  The Children’s print version can be found in the Children’s Department. 

Click read more below to see the whole report.                                  

Following are a number of areas which will either be updated or introduced as new items and/or new requests.

1.   Weeding Project

I am happy to inform the Board that this project is proceeding and that some headway has been made.  The last shipment to New World Books went out August 29, 2013.  As of that date, a total of 125 cartons containing approximately 2,180 books were donated.
2.    Children’s Shades

Three proposals were received for replacing the curtains in the Children’s Department and the Circulation Department work area.  Janet Makoujy, the Head of the Children’s Department, has evaluated the proposals and recommends that K&K Window Treatments, Inc., at a proposed cost of $5,980, be selected to provide the new shades. I endorse Janet’s recommendation.  At the time of this writing the proposals and recommendation had not yet been reviewed by the Building and Personnel & Finance Committees.  The specific proposal selected will not be forwarded to the Board without the prior endorsement of these two committees.

3.    Audio & Video System for the Meeting Room

As with the Children’s Shades, three proposals have been received to provide and install an audio and video system for the Library Meeting Room.  The evaluation and recommendation of the best proposal of the three submitted to the Library will be reviewed by the two committees and then forwarded to the Board with their endorsements.  It is my recommendation to the two committees that the proposal from Metro Sound Pros, Inc. be accepted at a total cost of $29,600.  

Note that the recommended proposal includes four wireless headsets to address the needs of hearing impaired patrons who require greater assistance than is provided by the regular audio equipment—thus putting New City Library in compliance with the Americans for Disabilities Act.

Senator David Carlucci notified the Library that $25,000 was allocated for the New City Library in the Bullet Aid for the State Fiscal Year, 2012-2013 authorization.  In a letter dated August 20, 2013, Senator Carlucci inquired after how the funds were used or are to be used.  It is recommended that the full $25,000 be applied to the purchase of the Audio & Video System for the meeting room, thus leaving only $4,600 to be expended from the Library’s operating funds.  If approved by the committees and subsequently approved by the Board, we will inform Senator Carlucci’s office that the Library will use the grant.

4.    State A-V Grant

Progress is being made on the work required to fulfill the requirements of the State A-V Grant.

Currently, the Children’s Department is closer to completion of the specifics for moving the juvenile DVD, CD, and games to the Children’s Room, and making the ensuing design changes required.  Options are being explored as part of the redesign work to provide storytelling capability in the Children’s Room, and, overall, to maximize the functionality of the Room.

The relocation of the adult AV materials to the first floor and the redesign of the first floor and the basement are much larger tasks.   We will maintain communication with the Board Personnel & Finance Committee (fiscal issues) and Building Committee (building and layout issues). 

Gail Seidenfrau has made a detailed study of the various alternatives to the means by which NWC secures DVDs, CDs, and games.  Gail concluded that the 3M disc security strips will work the best because they allows staff to complete customer transactions quickly and still provides a workable security system.  There will be no reason for the patron to wait for a staff member to retrieve the disc from a closed shelf area as the discs already will be in their cases and available for selection.  Just as they now select books, they will bring the AV materials to the circulation desk, and then charge them out with a self-charge terminal or with the assistance of a circulation staff member.  No more locking and unlocking cases (and sore wrists for the staff), no more browse cards, and most importantly no more long lines of patrons waiting for the discs to be retrieved and then charged to them. 

Note that there is one mountain to climb: the catalog record for every disc—all DVDs, CDs, and games—must be changed from an accession number identifier to a title identifier.  Much more quickly the security strips will be affixed to each disc, a relatively quick and simple process by comparison.

5.    NOOKS

New City Library will make another effort to populate a dozen Nooks with three months of bestsellers, classics, and other selections.  A publicity campaign will be waged to inform Library users of the wealth of best-selling and other titles that will be on the Nooks.  Marianne Silver has taken charge of the project.  It was with the initial help of Veronica Reynolds that we decided to make a second effort to increase the circulation and popularity of the Nooks.  Thanks to a not-so-well-known Barnes & Noble rule, the Library need only buy one copy of each title.  That given title can be loaded on up to five additional Nooks at NO additional charge.  With a dozen Nooks to be circulated, this is an enormous bargain, given that in the past NWC paid for every book that was loaded on to every Nook.  

6.    Director’s Film Series

I wanted to see more done with film programming at the Library.  Given my interest, I decided to initiate an ongoing series of films that all would be shown at 1:00 PM on Thursdays, beginning October 10.  I chose Jewish-themed movies for the first series.  They run a wide gamut—

10/10: Bonjour, Monsieur Shlomi: a feel-good coming-of-age Israeli movie; the story of a super-responsible teen with separated parents, an older brother, a beautiful female neighbor, and a loving uncle; he tries to make sense of it all including his challenges at school.
10/17: Watermarks, a documentary about a group of Jewish women swimmers who escaped from Nazi Austria and lived to tell the tale and go back for a visit.    This is a personal favorite of mine that I have watched four times.  The women are extraordinary and the tales told are stories of triumph.

10/24: Close to Home: contemporary Israel seen through the eyes of two former Israeli Defense Forces women soldiers, Vardit Bilu and Dalia Hager, who wrote and directed this fiction movie; they try to make sense of their military experience.

10/31: Kadosh, an Israeli movie, by Amos Gitai, arguably the preeminent Israeli director, is concerned with the struggle between secular and religious Jews.  The question at the heart of the movie is what will become of the marriage between two people who love each other but continue to remain childless.

11/7: Paul Schrader’s Adam Resurrected): a story of Holocaust survivors living in a sanitarium in the Israeli desert in the 1960s.  Jeff Goldblum performs the best acting of his career as a former Berlin vaudeville performer and later a degraded captive of a Nazi concentration camp director (Willem Dafoe). 

It should be noted that while I was in the process of writing this report, two suggestion box forms were submitted, each of which praised the Library for its summer film program, and urged the Library to show more movies and to continue film programming.  This series should please the two writers.

7.    Progress on outstanding projects

     a.    Sliding glass doors:

The contractor expects the doors to be delivered by the middle of the week of the week of September 15.  Once delivered MacKenzie will schedule the installation.  All things being equal, the doors will be installed in early October.

     b.    Phone system

Make-ready or set-up work is in progress and must be completed prior to the installation of the actual system.  Jim Collins has been working with Eastern Datacomm to complete documentation and related work.  The equipment is being ordered.  

     c.    Parish Building Inspection

Parish will begin its inspection and review of the building and HVAC on September 12.  A structural engineer will check the roofs, the drainage and overhang from the roof in front, the condition of external brick walls, etc.

8.    Antiquated Alarm System

 The alarm system is over 15 years old, is obsolete, and it has required multiple service calls.  Unless there is an objection, A&R alarm system will upgrade the Library alarm system for $1,425.

9.    Aerate the Lawn 

The appearance of the lawn will be improved if the lawn is aerated.  The Library did not aerate the lawn last Fall which has resulted in bald spots in the grass and generally a less desirable appearance.  The proposal from Helmke Industries, the current Library landscape vendor, is to “renovate the lawn with aerator” for a price of $2,750.

10.    Install a New Panel in the Electrical Box

Currently the Library has to manually turn on and off each of the Library’s electrical switches when the Library opens and closes.  Vista Electrical Contractors, Inc., the Library’s electrical vendor, proposed to put in a master switch on a new panel that will shut down and turn on all of those switches.  The proposed price for the new panel and rewiring for the installation of a master switch is $3,849.  

11.    Senior Fair, September 12, 2013

Karen Vetrano made arrangements for the New City Library to have a table at the Senior Fair sponsored by Senator David Carlucci.  She also made arrangements for me to be one of the speakers on the formal program.  Karen, Veronica Reynolds, and I ensured that there were two or three people at the table the entire four hours.  I met Senator Carlucci and thanked him personally for the “bullet aid” that he helped sponsor which produced the $25,000 grant to the New City Library.  I told him that if the Board approved it, the funds would be used for the purchase, installation and training for new audio and video equipment in the meeting room.  I also told him that if everything went well we would recognize him for his role in procuring the grant as a part of a scheduled event, e.g. a movie in the movie series, and also to invite press coverage.  

I also made contact with several senior organizations including a Jewish one and an Indian one.  It was a great public relations effort for the Library.  We had the opportunity to chat with numerous seniors.  Veronica recognized many of them as library users who she had helped when she was on the reference desk.  We also plugged the upcoming film series and gave out many copies of the Fall newsletter.

All in all it was a successful day.  Numerous contacts were made with seniors, senior-oriented organizations, and media representatives from The Rockland County Times.  They all were happy to see the wonderful things going on at the New City Library.  The organizations all said that they would be happy to partner with the Library to promote our respective projects and also to develop shared projects.

12.    Loss of Power

Other than it being miserably hot and humid at the Senior Fair, it was a wonderful day.  Until I came back to the Library to find that it closed because lack of power and all of the power-dependent systems were down as well.  Jim Collins, Andreas Abreu, and Eugene Reese, all stayed around to inform patrons that the Library was closed because there was no power, and to ensure that everything was in order.  The people from Parish were here surveying the Library.  Jim stuck with them until they finished their outside inspection and went home subsequently.

Everyone did what they could, but the team of Marianne Silver, Karen Ostertag, Veronica Reynolds and Jim Collins ensured that everything was up and running by the time the doors opened to patrons at 11:00AM. 

We learned from this closing that we will establish some mechanisms to ensure that all staff are notified or have a means of finding out on their own if and when the Library will be open.

Respectfully submitted,

/s/ mitch
Maurice J. Freedman, Director
September 13, 2013

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