Ann Arbor District Library board meeting (March 19, 2012): Monday’s relatively brief library board meeting was punctuated by a celebration of AADL director Josie Parker’s 10 years in that role.
During her director’s report, Parker spoke at length in praise of the library’s staff and their service ethic, saying ”that ethic is what makes this library a great library” and one she is proud to lead. The board passed a resolution recognizing her decade of leadership, citing a list of accomplishments that included the opening of three new branches and the library’s role in taking on the Washtenaw Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled and the digitization of the Ann Arbor News archives. Cake was served.
Earlier in the meeting as part of the board’s committee reports, Ed Surovell noted that for the first time in more than 15 years, the library staff doesn’t have sufficient information at this point to draft a budget for the coming fiscal year. Typically in March the board’s budget and finance committee, on which Surovell serves, will review the draft budget before it goes to the full board in April. That committee review process has been delayed because of uncertainties regarding future revenues, including funds the library receives from personal property taxes and penal fines.
Parker, who chairs the Michigan Library Association’s legislative committee, later told the board that she’s been spending a lot of time in Lansing, talking with state legislators and testifying in committee hearings about the importance of funding public libraries. She told The Chronicle that the budget process is expected to be back on track in April, after Washtenaw County’s equalization report is completed. That annual report is the basis for determining taxable value of property in the county, which in turn indicates how much tax revenue is collected by local taxing entities. The library board typically adopts a budget in May, for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
As part of another committee report, Prue Rosenthal noted that a new facilities committee had met to discuss the condition of the downtown building and what kinds of issues the board should be thinking about going forward. Board president Margaret Leary later clarified that the group met informally and that the committee hasn’t been officially created – that’s expected to occur with a board vote at the April 16 meeting.