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Director’s Report to the Board of Trustees for November

There is much to report—some completions, some successes, and some plans in the offing.

 1.      Completed Projects Approved by the Board:

It’s a pleasure to report that several projects have been completed.

1.1. Audio – Video System:  A few minor odds and ends remain but everything of major significance is done.  The sound system installed is controlled from a device in the control room and also as an application on the library’s meeting room iPad.  The video projector is outstanding.  Even with ambient light, the image is displayed so brightly that the movies approach theater-like quality in terms of brightness and resolution.  The proof is in the audience’s enjoyment of the movie programs presented since the system was installed in October.

Click Read More below for the rest of the report.

1.2.Phone system: The new phone system has been installed.  The kinks were worked out—it turned out the biggest problem with the new system had nothing to do with the Shore-Tel system or phones the library purchased, but with Cornerstone, the vendor that brings in and sends the phone signal between the street and the library.  That was cleared up and the problem was resolved.  There are still a few bugs with the phone service, not the system itself.

1.3.Sliding Glass Doors: The doors have been successfully installed.   

1.4.Additional Security Gate: Because of the width of the door opening an additional security gate had to be installed.  Now everyone can enter and leave through either security gate.  The library security system continues to work fine with the addition of an identical second gate.  The gates keep a count of everyone who enters and leaves.  The gate count, i.e. number of patrons on given day, is achieved by dividing the count by two.


2.      Miscellaneous Projects Completed:


2.1.The Library Grounds: the library grounds were successfully aerated and minor landscaping work is being completed.

Anthony De Pino is doing an Eagle Scout project at the library.  He has cleared all of the weeds alongside one side of the library.  He’ll plant seed and raise funds to buy a bench that people will be able to enjoy.

2.2.The Security System: The library security system was obsolete.  The software was upgraded and eliminated the false emergencies that had gone off. 

2.3.Wiring of Light Panels: The wiring of the light panel that enables a single switch to turn off all of the library lights at the end of the evening was completed.  In addition two switches are being installed that will permit the two sets of lights in the meeting room to be turned off with the two switches.


3.      Proposed Projects or Projects Underway

3.1.Renovation of the Children’s Department (State AV Grant): On November 12 a completed proposal was submitted to the Board for consideration at the November 21 Board meeting.  This proposal must first be approved by the Board Building Committee and the Board Personnel and Finance Committee both of which are scheduled to meet prior to the November 21 Board meeting, i.e. November 18.  A slightly reworded version of the cover message I sent to the Board of Trustees, November 12, follows: 

This message and proposal are being sent to the full Board so that you all can take a good look at it in advance of the November 21 Board Meeting.  Also, I am requesting that both the Building Committee and the Personnel and Finance Committee meet the preceding Monday night, November 18, at 5:15pm so that the physical and financial issues of the proposal can be addressed. 

Time permitting on Monday (11/18), we will be happy to give a tour of the children's department so the recommended changes will be easier to understand.  All Board members who would like to attend the committee meetings and the presentation of the proposal are welcome.

The total price proposed by Creative Library Concepts, including delivery and installation, is $39,814.  Everything quoted is on the NY State Contract.

The most critical AV aspect of the proposal involves the relocation of the DVDs, CDs, Books on CD, and Games from the basement to the Children's Room.  To accommodate these materials, the glass exhibit case and the wall-length bulletin board will be removed and replaced with shelving for the different types of encased discs. This is totally consistent with, and is an integral part of, the renovation of the library's AV collections and services.

There are a couple of other major areas of change or relocation.  Around the wall from the new shelving, children's PCs and the AWE PC will be replaced by 4 iPads especially loaded with children's games and more. 

The replacement of the tables in the rear of the children's room with tables with wheels whose tops can be folded over and stored while occupying minimal space will for the first time provide ample room for story hours and other kinds of programming in the children's room.  The windows and the beautiful view will be there for the children and their parents, dramatically raising the aesthetics from the basement Storytime Room.  This also will be a huge improvement for children in wheelchairs.  Currently they must go down to the Storytime Room by an elevator with the capacity of one wheelchair at a time.  Of course the wheelchairs are readily accommodated with the new storytelling area now located in the children's room.  The Storytelling Room can still be used for programming and will be a good spot for arts and crafts.  There will be more programming capability.

New furniture will be placed in the area between the children's reference desk and the department head's office.  It will accommodate 5 PCs, a table, chairs, and other seating.

Janet Makoujy did an enormous amount of work and deserves a great deal of credit for what should be a major improvement in the usefulness of the children's room and the services provided therein.

3.2.Director’s Film Series: The Director’s Film Series was successful well beyond anyone’s expectations.  The series was a program we initiated that consisted of five films—all on Jewish related themes—to be shown on consecutive Thursdays at 1:00 p.m.  By the third and fourth weeks (10/24, 10/31), at least 80 people attended each week.  At the request of attendees, we held a discussion after the fourth film, an Israeli film, Kadosh and will continue do so for all future films.  With the showing of the fifth film we achieved a record attendance—well in excess of 80 people, and we had to add chairs to the area next to the sliding door, all of which were filled.  The extra chairs were brought from another area because all 80 chairs in the meeting room had been put out as part of the setup for Adam Resurrected.  Paul Schrader, the director, offered invaluable insights about the movie and the Israeli-authored book upon which it was based.  The attendees seemed to greatly appreciate his being there and what he had to say.

At the beginning of the program, we handed out index cards and pencils which were turned in as the people left.  We were pleased that we received 50 comment cards.

Our intent was to present a variety of films on a given theme that spanned a broad range of human experience.  Based on the response to them, it appears that we succeeded.  People showed up for the last three films with little or no prior knowledge about them.  They were coming because they enjoyed the first two movies so very much and expected that the succeeding ones would be good as well.

The audience wanted the series to continue.  They enjoyed coming each Thursday afternoon.  In response to their request we scheduled four more films to close out 2013: A Stranger among Us; Weapons of the Spirit; Primo (based on If This Is a Man, by Primo Levi); and My Favorite Year.  We will offer other themes and films in 2014.  The dates are not yet scheduled but it looks like we’ll be able to keep most Thursdays at 1pm as the regular time for films. 

Some of the topics for which films either have been selected or are being considered as possible topics are listed below.  We invite all readers, and most especially the folks who have come each week to the programs, to submit their own suggestions and/or comment on the topics below:

Movies featuring the national origins, ethnicity, and religions of the peoples of New CityPlans already are in progress to do an evening series of Indian films in four different Indian languages (Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, and Malayalam).

Libraries and Librarians (all pretty humorous: they include a Kathryn Hepburn movie, Desk Set; Francis Ford Coppola’s second feature film, You’re a Big Boy Now; an early Peter Sellers comedy, Only Two Can Play, in which he plays a bookmobile driver who is looking for love in all the wrong places; the Seinfeld episode with Mr. Bookman, and probably one more feature film.)

Labor unions and issues (will include a Paul Schrader film, Blue Collar, starring Richard Pryor, Harvey Keitel, and Yaphet Kotto; a Peter Sellers comedy, I’m All Right, Jack; an outstanding Marcello Mastroianni film that had little play in the U.S., The Organizer; and a documentary or two. 

Paul Schrader movies (will include one of his only movies that is very funny, Touch; and others that I think will show his broad range, including arguably his greatest movie, Mishima, which few people have seen, and has never been shown in Japan.  We will try to get him back when that series is scheduled.)

Bob Fosse Musicals: Fosse’s musicals are very well known and people may have seen one or more of the ones that could be presented, but they sure are fabulous and worth repeating on a big screen with great sound. My two favorites: Cabaret, and All That Jazz.

Frank Sinatra Movies: The singer and the actor, two different genres.

Director Film Favorites: Just to offer some films that we think people will like even though they don’t necessarily fit in the context of any series theme.

We are planning to offer evening film programs too (e.g., the Indian series).  One possibility will be to repeat some of the daytime movies in the evening (or vice-versa) and another possibility is to focus on audiences that are more likely to attend an evening program rather than an afternoon program.  The main object is to bring people into the library and have them enjoy their library experience.

3.3.Building Assessment: We plan to present to the Board for the December meeting the finished report from Parish that will give the library an evaluation of its surface and structural composition, its HVAC, and specific recommendations for remediation—what needs to be addressed immediately, in the next year or two, and in the long term.

4.      Zinio: Marianne Silver prepared the following proposal for the Board which describes the Zinio periodical service and its costs:

Recorded Books is in partnership with Zinio to offer a database of popular magazines available for downloading.  Access is possible through multiple platforms (Macs, PCs, iOS, Android).  This will be a very popular service that will supplement and in some instances, replace our hard copy subscriptions. We will be scaling back our print periodical collections considerably in preparation for the A/V renovation, and this product will certainly go beyond filling the resulting void.  Patrons have been requesting it for months. 

The annual platform fee is based on annual circulation statistics, not population served as is the norm.  For the New City Library, annual circs are hovering around 550,000.  In this tiered pricing system, that means our platform fee will be $6,000 per year.  This first year we are being offered a 20% discount, reducing the price to $4,800.  This platform fee will also give us OneClick Digital, Recorded Books’ downloadable ebook and digital audiobook platform with 220 free titles.  We would then have the option of utilizing OneClick to extend our digital offerings beyond Overdrive.  Also, our books-on-CD purchases from Recorded Books could be bundled with the downloadable versions at a significant discount.

The individual, annual title subscriptions are added to the platform fee.  Average subscriptions are in the $40-70 per year range. These annual subscription fees are higher than the print versions due to digital rights management considerations.

Attached is a spreadsheet that illustrates subscription fee totals at various amounts of titles ordered.  I analyzed circ stats of our hard copies, arranged them in order of decreasing popularity, and checked for their availability in Zinio.  This list gives us clear guidance on the types of periodicals we should be selecting.  (Note that the Nyack Library and the Valley Cottage Library are pleased with the use of Zinio by their patrons.)

As an example, if we chose to subscribe to the top twenty titles, our first-year cost would be:

                  $4,800      platform fee (discounted 20% from $6,000)

                +$   987      20 magazine subscriptions


The service with 60 titles would cost:

                $4,800         platform fee (discounted 20% from $6,000)

                +3,756         60 magazine subscriptions


The spreadsheet with the list of periodicals and price breaks:




Ann Sub




Food Network Magazine

 $       59.97

 $       59.97



Vegetarian Times

 $       29.97

 $       89.94



House Beautiful

 $       59.97

 $     149.91



Good Housekeeping

 $       59.97

 $     209.88




 $       38.85

 $     248.73




 $       59.97

 $     308.70



Yoga Journal

 $       47.85

 $     356.55



Family Handyman

 $       30.00

 $     386.55



Every Day with Rachael Ray

 $       30.00

 $     416.55



La Cucina Italiana US

 $       44.85

 $     461.40



O, The Oprah Magazine

 $       59.97

 $     521.37




 $       59.97

 $     581.34



Popular Science

 $       44.97

 $     626.31




 $       59.91

 $     686.22



Ladies Home Journal

 $       31.47

 $     717.69



Country Living

 $       59.97

 $     777.66



Weight Watchers

 $       29.97

 $     807.63



Woman's Day

 $       59.97

 $     867.60



Diabetic Living

 $       59.91

 $     927.51



Popular Mechanics

 $       59.97

 $     987.48

20 titles


Taste of Home

 $       30.00

 $  1,017.48



Kiplinger's Personal Finance

 $       36.00

 $  1,053.48




 $       75.00

 $  1,128.48



Women's Health

 $       75.00

 $  1,203.48



Martha Stewart Living

 $       59.97

 $  1,263.45




 $       72.00

 $  1,335.45




 $     59.97

 $  1,395.42



Family Circle

 $       44.97

 $  1,440.39




 $       89.97

 $  1,530.36



Harper's Bazaar

 $       59.97

 $  1,590.33




 $       44.91

 $  1,635.24




 $       59.97

 $  1,695.21



Men's Health

 $       90.00

 $  1,785.21




 $       80.97

 $  1,866.18



Men's Fitness

 $       45.00

 $  1,911.18



Runner's World

 $       75.00

 $  1,986.18



Road & Track

 $       59.97

 $  2,046.15



National Geographic Traveler Interactive

 $       47.97

 $  2,094.12




 $       59.97

 $  2,154.09



National Geographic Interactive

 $       59.97

 $  2,214.06

40 titles



 $       53.91

 $  2,267.97



Organic Gardening

 $       60.00

 $  2,327.97



Popular Photography

 $       44.97

 $  2,372.94



Marie Claire

 $       59.97

 $  2,432.91



Motor Trend

 $       35.97

 $  2,468.88



Cloth Paper Scissors

 $       72.00

 $  2,540.88



Cycle World

 $       60.00

 $  2,600.88



Sound & Vision

 $       35.97

 $  2,636.85



Us Weekly

 $     201.24

 $  2,838.09



Digital Photo

 $       36.00

 $  2,874.09



American Craft

 $       59.97

 $  2,934.06



Rolling Stone

 $       59.85

 $  2,993.91



Woodworker's Journal

 $       35.85

 $  3,029.76




 $       44.94

 $  3,074.70



Field & Stream

 $       35.97

 $  3,110.67



Smithsonian Magazine

 $       59.97

 $  3,170.64




 $       30.00

 $  3,200.64




 $     380.97

 $  3,581.61



Canoe & Kayak

 $       35.97

 $  3,617.58



Bloomberg Businessweek

 $     138.00

 $  3,755.58

60 titles


Guitar Player

 $       56.97

 $  3,812.55




 $       60.00

 $  3,872.55




 $       60.00

 $  3,932.55



Audubon Magazine

 $     161.97

 $  4,094.52




 $       44.85

 $  4,139.37




 $       44.91

 $  4,184.28




 $       96.00

 $  4,280.28



New York Review of Books

 $     177.00

 $  4,457.28

68 titles







We believe that it would be a good idea to start with the full 68 titles and evaluate the results after one year of use.  If there are infrequently circulated titles, they should be dropped for the following year.  If the overall use is minimal or deemed insufficient to justify renewing the service, the library simply can drop it altogether.  Conversely if the service becomes very popular consideration should be given to further curtailments of hard copy periodical subscriptions in favor of the Zinio subscriptions.

We recommend that the Board approve $9,257.28 for the purchase of 68 titles of the Zinio online periodical service for one year. 

5.      Personnel Changes:

      5.1. Veronica Reynolds: Veronica started her tenure as Coordinator of Community Relations, which was approved at the October Board Meeting.  So far, terrific.

      5.2. Posting for Adult Services Librarian, I or II (depending on qualifications): the vacancy created by Veronica's departure from Adult Services has been posted with RCLS and NYLINE.  There are many applications even though the posting is only a few days old.  There are few openings anywhere, and the salaries at New City are competitive or better than most other libraries.

      5.3. Janice Paley: Janice submitted her resignation as a Community Relations Assistant, part-time.  We will post the position shortly--once Veronica Reynolds can review the job description and hours for the position. Janice always did a fantastic job and in the past year, showed great strength and flexibility by taking up responsibility for some of the library’s programming.  Her attention to detail, grace under pressure and contributions to the Community Relations Department will be missed.  We wish her happiness and success in her new venture.

6.      Personal Reflections after 6 Months: I genuinely like the New City Library staff.  I remain most impressed with their work, their industriousness, and their commitment to quality service.

It is no secret that the Board has had issues that have involved conflict and the expression of strong differences of opinion.  What makes me happy and comfortable with the director position is that the Board has come together to vote unanimously for and support the proposals we have brought forward that addressed library issues, problems, and opportunities (most of which have been described above).  Everyone’s commitment to quality library service and a facility that is relatively up-to-date is deeply appreciated.

I worried about the commute from Mount Kisco (in northern Westchester) when I was appointed to this position. I am happy to report that the drive is minimized by the New City Library books on CD that I listen to during the drive.  Any of this report’s readers who have to spend a lot of time in the car, the library’s books on CD collection is excellent and they are urged to take advantage of this wonderful medium.

Respectfully submitted,

/s/ mitch

Mitch Freedman, Director

New City Library

November 14, 2013






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