RUPERT J. SMITH LAW LIBRARY OF ST. LUCIE COUNTY, INC.
SEPTEMBER 12, 2008 at 3:30 p.m.
Honorable Burton C. Conner, Chairman
Trustees Attending: Honorable Burton C. Conner, James T. Walker, Esq., Paula A. Lewis, County Commissioner and Johnathan Ferguson, Esq.
Absentees: Lynn T. Atkinson, Secretary
Others Attending: Nora J. Everlove, Librarian joined the meeting late by speaker phone
I. Previous Minutes:
Mr. Wilder made a motion to accept the minutes from the previous meeting as presented, Ms. Lewis seconded the motion and is was carried unanimously.
II. Financial Reports:
Judge Conner distributed the Annual Financial Report for the period ending September 30, 2007, for everyone’s information and review. The current monthly financial reports were reviewed and Mr. Wilder stated that these reports were much more understandable than past reports. Judge Conner advised Mr. Ferguson that the County acts as the Law Library’s fiscal agent and few months prior the Board had some questions concerning the reports. County Finance and the Office of Management and Budget sent an employee each over to address and answer the questions. As part of that discussion, Finance agreed to reformat the reports for the Board. Ms. Lewis advised that she had a question about a $700.00 figure that comes in and goes out. Judge Conner said that he had a question as well. Judge Conner stated that he would ask Ms. Atkinson or Ms. Everlove to look into the $700.00 and have an explanation at the next meeting.
Ms. Everlove joined the meeting by phone at this point and Judge Conner asked her about the $700.00. Ms. Everlove stated that she did not, but that she would look into it and report back.
As there were no further questions concerning the financial reports Mr. Walker moved to approve the reports as presented. Mr. Wilder seconded the motion and it was carried unanimously.
III. Library Packet for Mr. Ferguson:
Mr. Walker apologized to Mr. Ferguson for not having a packet for him concerning the Law Library and stated that he would mail it to Mr. Ferguson. Judge Conner welcomed Mr. Ferguson to the Board. Ms. Everlove asked for Mr. Ferguson’s phone number and suggested that they meet at this office to bring him up to speed and to go over any questions that he might have. Mr. Ferguson agreed to e-mail all of his contact information to Ms. Everlove.
IV: Report on the New Law Library:
Mr. Walker reported that concerns about the drop ceilings and the fire districts standards were abated and apparently so we will not have to reduce the height of the bookshelves as much as it was previously thought. Ms. Everlove stated that it is correct. She believes that they found a lower profile sprinkler head and that raised the ceiling about three or four inches which are critical. Ms. Everlove stated that as set forth in her report that if the existing shelves don’t fit we will have to buy some new components but all in all it is a big sigh of relief. We will be able to maximize the space that we have and have enough space for our collection at least for ten years or so.
Mr. Ferguson asked Ms. Everlove about her report where she talks about still being able to get seven shelves, but that the existing bookcases won’t fit because they’re three inches too tall. He stated that he assumed that she is referring to the bookcases that he is looking at that run down the middle of the Library. He asked how the books will fit on seven shelves and if there is a quarter inch or half inch less height for each shelf. Ms. Everlove stated that he is correct. Mr. Ferguson asked, what is the distance between each shelf on the eighty-five inch shelf and will the books still fit? Ms. Everlove replied that, yes, the books will still fit and that we are going to a low-profile bookcase that will only be one inch off the floor so we will gain space there. She said that she thinks it will amount to about a quarter of an inch less than what we have right now, but we should be fine.
Judge Conner stated that he thought the shelves were adjustable and is that how we were going to make up for some of the space. Ms. Everlove replied, yes in some sense. She used the Reporters as her standard since that’s the bulk of the collection.
Mr. Ferguson asked if the cost of the new shelves was coming out of the County’s budget and was advised, no. Mr. Walker explained that it is being paid out of the $240,000.00 in operating cash.
Judge Conner inquired if the amount of space for the new space falls short of the projection previously made by the Board and Ms. Everlove? Ms. Everlove explained that there are still some places that we are losing shelving, such as columns and so forth that interrupt the original plans. She stated that she feels that we are going okay, but she doesn’t want to draw a rosy picture of this expansive ceilinged room. The ceiling is low and of course you have the feeling that the ceiling is low, but the space is sufficient for the books. Further discussion was had concerning the reconfiguring of the shelving to allow more natural light to travel back into the Library and it will be a more welcome and environmentally comfortable setting. Eventually some of the stationary book cases will have to be removed and replaced with moving book cases to accommodate the collection, but that is years down the road.
Mr. Wilder asked Ms. Everlove approximately how many linear feet of shelving space does she anticipate? Ms. Everlove stated that she wants to start with a minimum of sixty-five hundred linear feet and be able to go to at least seventy-five hundred. Mr. Wilder asked if she thought that is possible to get seventy-five hundred out of the new space. Ms. Everlove replied that it is a possibility although she does not want to spend the money for the shelving until we have to and the room will be nicer without that extra 1000 feet of linear shelving so let’s keep it that way until we need the shelving.
Mr. Walker asked if there is anything more on the security discussions for the new space. Judge Conner stated that he had nothing new to add other than what he advised the Board of last month which is at this point in time Lieutenant Hardie is projecting that a Wackenhut Officer be stationed and the public entrance is going to be open and available. Judge Conner did discuss with Lieutenant Hardie and asked him to check into the system that they have in Indian River County that allows like fingerprints or whatever, some way that lawyers could access the Law Library in the evenings. Mr. Walker asked if there was any discussion as to whether or not the Sheriff’s Office would be able to continue to fund that. Judge Conner stated that although Lieutenant Hardie was not able to commit to it, he did give a strong indication that it would not be likely due to the budget crunch.
Mr. Wilder stated that although he did not know about the feasibility of it, but the biometric locks (thumb scanner locks) are now very inexpensive and can store like six hundred fingers prints so this is something that we could look into as one way of having a secure entrance. Mr. Walker asked that Ms. Everlove look into the expense associated with this type of system. Mr. Wilder volunteered to give her the names of the manufacturers that he has and stated that he would supply this to her via e-mail early next week. He stated that Ms. Everlove could go to gokeyless.com and that is a good starting place.
Judge Conner mentioned one thing that may change the equation a little bit. Chief Judge Roby is not going to seek another term as the Chief Judge. His term will expire July of next year. The election will be in February. Judge Conner’s stated that the Chief Judge is ultimately responsible for the security of the courthouse, although arguably speaking there are really no court functions going on in that building except for jury assembly, but his point being that court security is a bigger issue to some Chief Judges than to others and depending on the next Chief Judge there may be more or less opposition to allowing lawyers access to the Law Library after hours. Judge Conner said that he thinks it is worthwhile to ask Ms. Everlove to investigate the cost of the thumbprint system because he thinks most people from a security standpoint will be comfortable with that if it is affordable.
Judge Conner inquired if there are any questions concerning the information on financial reports that Ms. Everlove has provided in her report to the Board. Mr. Ferguson asked for a thirty second explanation as to what the revenue blip was. Judge Conner stated that we had an extremely good month and we were in hopes that it was a trend that was going to continue, but apparently that does not look like it’s going to be the case. He then asked Ms. Everlove if she felt like we would be able to at least breakeven with expenses if we maintain revenue like we do at the beginning of the year. Ms. Everlove replied that she felt that we would be behind a little bit. Mr. Walker stated that the operating cash reports from a year ago were showing $249,000.00 in the bank and a year later it is showing $240,000.00. That’s a net reduction of approximately $8,000.00 or so, but if that takes into account the $35,000.00 that suggests that we were actually up for the year. Ms. Everlove stated that it does so she needs to look at it again.
Judge Conner explained to Mr. Ferguson that when it mentioned earlier that we had some questions about the financial reports it looked like one month we had this $35,000.00 expenditure go out and we couldn’t figure out what that was all about. We discovered that it was actually due to the Article V shifting of how law libraries got funded. There was a period of time where we didn’t spend the money down like we should have so we ended up losing about $35,000.00 in essence, but it was a onetime deal. What Mr. Walker is pointing out is when you factor that $35,000.00 over a year then it looks like if that doesn’t happen again and it shouldn’t, then we should actually be able to keep our head above water.
The copier income was discussed and it seems as if the copier income is a little bit higher. Ms. Everlove stated that we do have genuine growth. The figures in the report do not reflect much of the new copies. When we do see the number increase she thinks we can still feel confident that genuine growth is reflected and not just our ability to capture what we should have had all along.
The Library has a new employee, Robert. Stephanie cannot work all of the hours that Eppy was working so Robert is taking up that deficit. Ms. Everlove stated that she is happy to report that all of the employees are working together on the scheduling to make sure that the Library is always staffed. Judge Conner asked if Robert is a student. Ms. Everlove stated that Robert is a J.D. and has practiced in Florida, but is now in Library School. Judge Conner inquired as to how long Ms. Everlove thinks Stephanie will continue to work with the Library. Ms. Everlove stated that Stephanie is working more hours than she originally committed to and she will take all of the time that Stephanie is willing to work, although she has not really tried to pin her down to a definite time frame. Judge Conner inquired as to how long Robert will be with us. Ms. Everlove said she would guess anywhere from a year to two years.
Mr. Ferguson asked how many hours the Law Library is open per week. Ms. Everlove replied that the Library is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and Tuesdays and Thursdays we stay open to 7:00 p.m. Ms. Everlove stated that there have been occasions when we’ve been open later such as when the Bar had a foreclosure workshop where they were helping the general public with their questions.
Judge Conner advised Mr. Ferguson that Ms. Jarrett had advised of problems with the Library door being locked at St. Lucie West during business hours and that we have gone through steps to remedy that situation. At this point it is understood that the lock has been completely removed to prevent this from happening since the Library is not staffed. Judge Conner asked Mr. Ferguson to provide feedback from the Port St. Lucie lawyers as to any problems or concerns they have with the St. Lucie West Library.
Discussion was had concerning the statewide conference for law libraries coming up on October 9th, 10th and 11th. Mr. Wilder stated that he will attend if the Trustees feel that attendance will be beneficial. Mr. Walker stated that personally he feels that the more we can get Trustees immersed in the field the better we are as a Board. Mr. Wilder and Ms. Everlove discussed and agreed that all of the substantive meetings would be on October 10th. Ms. Everlove stated that Saturday morning there is a business meeting where there is usually a lot discussion on how libraries are funding themselves and that the meeting will be brief and will probably be over by ten or eleven o’clock in the morning. Mr. Wilder inquired about the paperwork for the conference and Ms. Everlove advised that she would have Kathy send in Mr. Wilder’s paperwork for the conference.
Mr. Walker addressed the attendance meter figures and stated that the figures appear to be way up when compared to 2007. Ms. Everlove stated that to be honest she had not seen the numbers, Eppy prepares those numbers. However it makes sense that the meter figures would be up as out copier figures are up. She believes we are getting more traffic. Mr. Walker stated that it appeared that about half again as many people are using the Library this year as compared to last year if he is interpreting the data correctly. Mr. Wilder stated that if the data is correct then Mr. Walker is correct and that also does reflect general usage of not only law libraries but people are hitting libraries for their informational needs a lot more. That is reflected here in the County in the regular library system as well. Ms. Everlove reported that it is roughly what our photocopiers were up last month as well and the manual log is up 50% from last year so she feels that it is a good number.
Mr. Walker asked Ms. Everlove about the website hits. He wondered if she had attempted to analyze the figures and what they might suggest. Ms. Everlove reported that although she did not have the figures in front of her they were much higher than she would have ever guessed. It was thousands actually. Mr. Walker asked Ms. Everlove to do some analysis of those figures and report on how the sight is being used or in what fashion it receives its most interest. Ms. Everlove stated that she would analyze the figures and report back to the Board.
V. Public Outreach:
Mr. Wilder expressed his thanks to Ms. Everlove for the great work she has been doing in public outreach. Her information is easily understood and people have fun and enjoy talking with Ms. Everlove. Ms. Everlove not only teaches and informs but takes feedback as well. The search bar on the website right now came from someone’s suggestions at one of the presentation. Mr. Wilder said that he feels the reason we are getting more clients is more people are aware of the services that the Library is providing. He advised that two presentations have been given in three months. Mike Landon, Superintendent of Schools has requested that they do a presentation to the students. Mr. Wilder reported that he is working on another couple of presentation opportunities with local civic groups.
Mr. Walker inquired about handouts for the presentations. Mr. Wilder stated that he and Ms. Everlove have not as of yet put together any handouts for these presentations. Mr. Walker asked if the research pamphlets were being handed out at the presentations. Mr. Wilder replied that the research pamphlets were being handed out.
Judge Conner offered his congratulations to Trustee Lewis on a job well done on her election and expressed hope that she will continue to serve on the Board.
As no further discussion was to be had, the meeting was adjourned.
Dated: October ______, 2008
Burton C. Conner, Chairman
James T. Walker, Trustee
Jim Wilder, Member, Trustee
Paula A. Lewis, Trustee
Johnathan Ferguson, Esq. Trustee