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GBPL cleans house, purging 5K patrons from active list

Plan to ‘reconnect’ in works

POSTED May 16, 2017 4:19 p.m.

The Great Bend Public Library Board of Directors met Monday afternoon, recognizing staff member Allison Muth in absentia, who graduated from Great Bend High School Sunday. Erin Ferguson, the adult services supervisor, provided a departmental report. She first handed out the Summer Reading calendar of events to board members. She then reported that a patron audit had resulted in the library purging approximately 5,000 patrons who have not been active users since 2014. This, she said, was overdue maintenance, and recommended by the State Library Board to ensure an accurate reflection of how often patrons are using the library. The recommendation is to have the list current to within three years, and it is something she identified that hadn’t been done since her arrival.

Director Harry Willems added that a concerted effort will be made to contact these patrons on the purge list after the Summer Reading Program which starts June 1 is completed. The goal, he said, is to reconnect and entice them to come back and see what is new for them at the library. The expanded DVD offerings, and higher limits on number of items that can be checked out, as well as the elimination of fines for materials that are returned undamaged within 45 days overdue will be among the services the library hopes will bring some patrons back.
Ferguson also reported that she recently ordered several new audio books, thanks to the Books on Tape Diamond Sale, and recommended board members check out one of the new titles if they have any summer road trips coming up.

Unfinished business included a continuing discussion concerning the creation of the Whelan Endowment Fund, which would separate the gift from General Fund dollars. While the board approved its formation, there was disagreement on how those funds would be used from year to year. At the last meeting, Willems pitched a resolution that would use $3,000 of the annual disbursement to fund employee scholarships, something which is currently included in the library’s budget through General Fund dollars. However, more than one board member felt the money should be earmarked for uses that more directly benefitted the community.

It was noted that many of the scholarship recipients have completed their educations only to move away shortly after completing their service agreement. One board member felt the Whelans’ intention was to provide a benefit to the community. One suggestion was to use the dollars for educational programming for the community, and another was to replace some of the furniture which has become shabby over the years.
Rose Kelly moved to table the discussion until the next meeting, noting that some board members had other appointments scheduled for later in the evening. Her motion was seconded and the board agreed to continue the debate in June.
During his report, Willems went over the timeline for board members to select a new director, with his retirement less than seven months away. Board members Rose Kelly and Dr. Bill King volunteered to join staffer Erin Ferguson on the search committee. It is anticipated that interviews will happen in October, and the new director would officially start at the beginning of 2018.
Willems also reported that Assistant Director Deidre Lemon would be leaving soon, having accepted a position at the Manhattan Public Library. Two applicants have already been interviewed to fill her position, and Willems hopes to have a contract in hand by the June meeting.

 The next meeting will be at 4:45 p.m. on Monday, June 13 in the Director’s Office.


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