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Friends of the Van Pelt Library

Board Meeting Minutes

April 10, 1997

Present: Morrison, Hubbard, Brozzo, Fisher, Reynolds, Hoagland, Minne
Absent: Love, Vincent, Fass, Hawthorne, Van Pelt, Dobney, Johnson
Visitors: Theresa Spence

A quorum of board members was present.  Faith Morrison called the meeting to order at 4:08pm; action items are in bold.

The minutes of the February meeting were reviewed.  Kim Hoagland moved and Sally Brozzo seconded that the minutes be approved.  Motion passed.

Theresa Spence spoke to the board on behalf of Phyllis Johnson to discuss the library's strategy towards Michigan Tech's planned Capital Campaign.  The tentative goal for the campaign is $100,000,000 campus-wide, and units on campus have been solicited for projects costing $100,000 or more.  The library administration proposes three projects:

1. Fisher Hall/ Library Building Expansion (includes renovation of current library building)
2. Endowment for Library Collections
3. Endowment for Library Technology
4. Library classroom/lab

The deadline for submitting project ideas is May 1.  Erin Minne indicated that the campaign will be in a silent phase beginning possibly Fall 1998 with it going public in 1999 or 2000.  Spence indicated that Johnson was asking for the Friends to send her a letter of support of these three goals.  There was some discussion of these projects.  The board directed Morrison to write a letter of support to Johnson including indications that the library needs to be the center of campus, that the library needs to be improved in order to attract high-quality students and faculty, and also that the persistent mentions of the library as a negative in accreditation reports must be addressed.

Spence also gave an update on the focus groups that she has been running to learn about how the library can better serve its constituencies.  The groups run thus far have verified that the library is not the attraction we believe it should be.  Spence indicated that she is proposing to run a focus group of community members including local librarians and the Friends.  The date has been set for Wednesday, April 30 from 5:30-7:30 in the MUB.  Spence asked if any of the non-faculty/non-student board members (separate focus groups have been conducted for faculty and student groups) would be willing to participate.  Several signed up.  The focus groups will result in a report that will be discussed with the campus community.  Up to 7 Friends could be included in the focus group.  If anyone has any suggestions of other community members who might be willing to participate, please contact Theresa Spence.

Morrison gave a report on the book sale.  Over 9,600 books were collected including 5,000 from the Lindel donation brought in by Nancy Fisher.  The board commended Fisher for her hard work and success in finding large collections in each of the last two years and significantly contributing to the book sale's success.  The sale grossed $3216.28; after paying sales tax the Friends netted $3032.60 which is about 50% more than last year.  In addition, $365 in member donations were received, the bulk of that at the pre-sale.  Two blankets were sold as well.  The sale was a phenomenal success and excellent publicity for the Friends.  Several board members involved agreed that the tone of the sale was jubilant with customers just delighted to see the books available at the low prices offered.  Morrison reported that 41 volunteers put in a total of 160 hours during the two days of the sale, including several (Morrison, Fisher, Sally Brozzo, Jim Brozzo) who were there for set-up, clean-up, and nearly all hours that the sale was open.  Bob Marr especially is to be commended for his outstanding service in sorting and pricing the books with help from Ellen Seidel.  Seidel also sorted through the left-over books and selected those few which were saved for next year.  Volunteers came from the Society of Intellectual Sisters, Tau Beta Pi, Chemical Engineering Graduate Students, and the Senior Class Council.  Morrison reported that membership in the Friends would be bestowed on these volunteers and all volunteers who logged 4 hours of work for the Friends.

The sale had in excess of 50 customers nearly all of the time.  The left-over books were taken by Backroom Books (except for Readers Digest Condensed and Readers Digest magazines which were discarded).  Next year the Friends will look into donating the left-over Condensed books to local senior centers.  Morrison has not heard back from Backroom as to what the Friends will receive for the 98 boxes delivered; it is likely that we will receive store credit which can be used by the library for the paperback collection.

The board discussed improvements to the sale.  Morrison commented that with the growth of the sale, the time needed for sorting and pricing has grown considerably.  This high use of Bob Marr's work time is a cost which must be counted against the sale profits.  The board agreed that the Friends could do pricing in the future, but the issue of book storage and sorting is unresolved.  Brozzo commented that some of the student workers were doing homework while serving as cashiers, and this made them less effective; better training of volunteers is called for.  The board was gratified by the success of the sale and directed Morrison to thank all the volunteers.  In addition, Morrison and Fisher will update the book-sale guidelines incorporating all improvements which were suggested by the board and others during and after the sale.

Morrison and Fisher updated the board on the carrel project.  A display describing the project has been up for two weeks at the entrance of the library and many suggestions have been collected from students.  Morrison and Fisher made a presentation on the carrel project to the Trademark Licensing Committee asking for $10,000 to renovate three carrels; the committee agreed.  Also Jennifer Witer, member of the Senior Class Gift Committee, has reported that over $2,000 in pledges so far have been committed to the carrel project.  Since President Tompkins is matching their gift, only $5,000 in pledges is needed for the seniors to renovate three carrels.  Thus, six carrels are slated to be renovated with no Friends funds needed.  This is another great success for the Friends.

With the Trademark Committee commitment, construction on the first three carrels can begin.  Morrison will contact library building manager Sue qStimac and they, with Terry Reynolds, will coordinate the removal of the existing built-in furniture.  A committee of Morrison, Reynolds, Fisher and Joe Fass (for the student perspective) will make final design decisions on the carrels.  Karen Hubbard will give input on carpeting as well.  The project is on track for three carrels to be completed by the end of the term.

Nancy Fisher reported that the card project is on track thanks to the efforts of Fisher and Erik Nordberg from the Archives.  Extended captions were written and edited by Fisher, Nordberg, Hoagland, and Reynolds.  All of the graphics have been reproduced.  The printer has promised a May 1 delivery.  Fisher will keep the board up-to-date.

Fisher showed the board the mailer that is going out to the parents of graduating seniors.  1200 copies should leave on April 11.  The Friends are splitting the costs with the alumni office.  We have 92 blankets in stock.  The board authorized Fisher to order as many blankets as she thought was appropriate based on the response to the mailer.

The board postponed discussion of the special gifts committee until May.

Morrison reported that she had received a letter of resignation from board member Peter Van Pelt.  He cited other commitments and travel keeping him from attending board meetings.  The board is reluctant to lose Van Pelt but accepted his resignation with regret.  Morrison will write a letter to Van Pelt accepting his resignation with regret and hopefully leaving open the possibility that he will work with the board occasionally in the future.  The board can fill this vacancy, if desired.  Board members are asked to think about nominating a new board member.

Fisher gave the treasurer's report.  As of March 31 (before the book sale) the Friends have $6,515.87 in their MTU account and $5,233.08 in the Tech Fund account for a net worth of $11,748.95 plus 92 blankets.  As stated earlier, the book sale netted over $3600 in proceeds and donations; the mailer to parents will cost approximately $400; we thus have approximately $15,000 to invest in library projects.  Since the carrel project is now fully funded, it is a priority to identify our next project for the library, perhaps based on improving the collection.  Morrison commented that the credit for the books given to Backroom Books will be given to the library to support the paperback collection; additional monies from the Friends have already been committed for that purpose per our existing agreement with the library.  In addition, Library Director Johnson had indicated that the Friends could decide on the use of last-year's book sale proceeds; these represent additional monies which can be used for Friends projects.  Morrison will look through the minutes for the details on these last two items.

Agenda for next time:
Friends web page in the works
What is our next project to benefit the library with the proceeds we have generated?
Report from Morrison and Johnson on ACRL meeting April 11-14, 1997

Minne moved and Brozzo seconded that the meeting adjourn.  Motion passed at 5:32pm.  The next meeting will be Thursday, May 1, 1997, 4-5:30pm in room 309 of the J. Robert Van Pelt Library.

Submitted by Faith Morrison, April 13, 1997.

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