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Director’s Report to the Board of Trustees for December

I. General Comments

I congratulate Ralph Sabatini, Jeffrey Sasson, and David Zuckerberg on their election to the New City Library Board of Trustees.  The huge voter turnout reflects the community’s deep interest in the Library.

On behalf of the administration and the staff I will do my utmost to welcome them and be as responsive as possible to their—and the other trustees’—concerns.  

Click 'Read More' below to see the entire report.


II.      Parish Properties                                                                                                                                                      .

I am pleased by how much has been done to improve the physical facility and infrastructure of the Library.  The new audio and visual systems in the meeting room brought it into the 21st century and made possible a most successful movie series.  The new sliding glass doors once and for all solved the random but frequent problems with the doors—for example, a circulation clerk would have to put the doors back on their tracks when they got stuck.  The new phone system is a blessing for the simplicity of retrieving messages and much more. 

Without reviewing further what’s been described in my previous reports, the big issue, the physical plant itself—all aspects of it—has been surveyed by Parish Properties.  Parish submitted a detailed report that covered everything from the eight separate roofs atop the building, to the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning system), to the deteriorating brick and mortar on the side of the building, and everything else.  Parish did what I asked and addressed the fundamental question that any survey should cover: what about the physical plant is problematic and needs remediation? They outlined which issues need correction immediately, in the next few years, or after five years; and what is in fine working condition that will continue that way for five or more years.

Jim Collins will distribute the Parish report to the Board (if he hasn’t done so already). 

I recommend that the work on the building and the priorities and implementation of them be a Board project for 2014.

 

III.      AV Construction Project

 

A. After discussions with the State Librarian and Assistant Commissioner for Libraries, Bernard Margolis, and the Library Development staffer, Mary Linda Todd, specifically charged for overseeing the project, I will recommend modifications that will address changes to the originally approved grant.  Note that the grant was approved three years ago, and has been renewed twice— it is now in its third and final year.  The non-renewable deadline for completion is June 30, 2014.

The major area to be modified is the addition of the children’s department to the grant’s basic goals.  The original grant calls for a fundamental change to the whole system for the management of DVDs, CDs, and games, including their relocation to the first floor.  What wasn’t taken into account in the proposal and which will be addressed in the modification, is AV shelving that will have to be purchased and installed in the children’s room—the original grant’s single greatest omission.  The children’s discs (DVDs, CDs, and games) will go to the children’s room.  These modifications and other changes will be recommended to the State in the broad context of the library’s AV services.  

B. A major workload will be created as part of the project.  The discs in the AV department are located in the basement.  They are shelved by consecutive numbers—not alphabetically by title.  With their relocation to the adult and children’s services areas on the first floor, they will be shelved by title to facilitate the ease by which patrons can browse and borrow discs from the collection.

To make this happen, all of the discs will have to go to technical services to make the necessary changes to the cases and to the Symphony computer system.   There will be a demonstration project with the children’s collection.  A new spine label will be required that has the first few letters of the title for shelving purposes, the replacement of the former identifying number with the title information, and the affixing of the copy protection to the disc.  The technical services staff and others will carefully study the procedures for making these changes and the time it takes—approximately—to complete the work on each disc.

There are a total of 6455 Adult DVDs, 2715 Juvenile DVDs, 6176 Adult music CDs, 419 Juvenile music CDs, and 1214 videogames (only some of which are Juvenile) that will require this remediation--which is why the demonstration project will be important.

 

IV.      The Director’s Series

A. The Director’s Series was a great success.  It originated as a five-film series of movies relating to the Jewish people.  The last three of those five played to the meeting room’s maximum capacity.  For the film, Adam Resurrected, I was fortunate to have its director, Paul Schrader, attend and discuss the movie with the audience and to answer their questions.  For the Schrader film it was necessary to bring a number of chairs from outside the meeting room. After the fourth or fifth movie, numerous members wanted to keep coming on Thursday afternoons. 

B. To be responsive, I scheduled four additional films.  Because it was a rainy day--the fourth film, Primo, a one-man show based on Primo Levi’s experience at Auschwitz--I didn’t have the usual full-house; probably only 60 or more people were in attendance.  However of all the films shown, Primo had the greatest impact on the audience because it was so intense, painful and masterfully done.  There was much discussion after it, but not immediately.  Many people sat there stunned by the force of the film. 

Two more films will close out the year’s film schedule, My Favorite Year, one of the single funniest movies I have seen (December 12), and another Paul Schrader movie, Touch, which is based on an Elmore Leonard short story and probably the only “light” movie Paul Schrader has made (December 19). 

C. I will begin the New Year film fare by continuing the Director’s Series, with the theme Libraries and Librarians. The movies either take place in libraries or are about librarians.  They include Francis Ford Coppola’s second movie as a director, You’re a Big Boy Now, and features Rip Torn as the rare books librarian at the 42nd Street Library who takes women into the rare book vault for assignations; Party Girl, a comedy that takes place in a branch of The New York Public Library (NYPL), starring Parker Posey;  Only Two Can Play, an older British movie in which Peter Sellers plays a philandering bookmobile driver; and to close out the month, the classic comedy, Desk Set, starring Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.  I will squeeze in with one of the four, the Seinfeld show that features Lieutenant Bookman, the NYPL investigator, who informs Jerry that he has a fine on an unreturned book and that he wants the book back.

 

V.      Personnel

 

A.    Adult Services, Librarian II

I am thrilled to report my recommendation to fill the Adult Services Librarian II vacancy.  Marianne Silver and I reviewed a few dozen applications and selected three people to interview.  It was an easy decision for us because the person I recommend for appointment (with Marianne’s full support) is clearly the best qualified person.  His résumé will be forwarded to you separately.  I was able to recruit him because the New City Library salary scale is superior to most, if not all, of the libraries in Rockland County, and because of his eagerness to take on the challenges that the New City Library will offer him.  Especially exciting is his great interest and desire to work on New City Library’s outstanding local history collection. 

B.     Community Relations Assistant II

This position was occupied by Janice Paley who recently left the library. The position has been posted and numerous applications have come in from well-qualified and over-qualified people.  This seems to be the ultimate buyer’s market.

Veronica Reynolds, Coordinator of Community Relations, is in the process of selecting the candidates she wishes to interview.

C.    New Position: Adult Services Librarian I

In the process of examining the plethora of applications for the Librarian II position and interviewing several people, it occurred to us that the Library would benefit greatly from the addition of a full-time entry level adult services librarian.  Given the outstanding qualifications of the person recommended for the Librarian II position and his expertise in the development and management of local history collections, we believe that so much more could be done for the New City Library local history collection if more hours could be allocated for that work.  At present only 10 hours per week are budgeted for local history.  

It would be good to have an entry-level librarian who recently graduated from an ALA-accredited library school among the full-time adult services staff.

Following is the descriptive portion of the prospective Position Announcement Ms. Silver drafted for the Adult Services Librarian I position:

New City Library

Position Announcement

Librarian I Adult Services

DESCRIPTION:  This is professional library work within the Adult Services Department of the New City Library in New City, New York.  This entry-level position comprises traditional reference work, reader’s advisory, computer instruction for patrons, and customer service.  Collection management responsibilities will be in a variety of traditional and non-traditional formats. 

REQUIREMENTS:  An accredited Masters degree in library science is required as well as New York State Public Librarian Certification.  Skills must include high-level competency in MS Office programs and familiarity with social media and open-source applications.  Working knowledge of Sirsi-Dynix Symphony is a plus.  Ability to teach basic computer skills in a small class setting and troubleshoot public internet usage problems required.  Dedication to public service is a must.  An ability to speak and write effectively and clearly is assumed.  Local applicants preferred.

SCOPE:  The employee will be required to work 35 hours per week with limited evenings and weekends.  The work is performed under limited supervision where the work assignments are subject to established procedures, practices, techniques, timelines and/or policies.  The work is reviewed in terms of quality, volume, timeliness and adherence to established procedures and policies. 

 

 VI.      5-Year Pins

One of the staff asked me to reinstitute what was a popular program with the staff: the awarding to each staff member 5-year pin when the person reaches the fifth anniversary.  The process continues for 10, 15, 20, 25, etc. pins.  The cost is modest and I would like to reinstitute this program.  It is well within my spending limits, but I thought it would be nice for the trustees to know about it and to attend the ceremonies if they are available.  I have been told by different staff members that this form of recognition was very popular.

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