A Special Meeting of the Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston as a Corporation and as an Administrative Agency was held at the Boston Public Library, McKim Building, Orientation Room, Copley Square Library, on Tuesday, August, 2, 2012 at 8:30 a.m.
Present at the Meeting were: Chairman Jeffrey B. Rudman, Trustees; Zamawa Arenas, Carol Fulp, Paul A. La Camera, Dennis Lehane, and Byron Rushing.
Absent from the Meeting was Trustee Evelyn Arana-Ortiz
Also present at the meeting were: President Amy E. Ryan; Nancy Grilk, Clerk of the Board; Boston Public Library and City of Boston staff, and 5 members of the public.
Chairman Jeffrey B. Rudman presided.
Chairman Rudman called on President Amy Ryan to provide an update on the revised FY13 Operating and Capital Budgets approved by the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. President Ryan commented that the Compass Principles have provided clear goals and guidelines in the budget process and thanked the Trustees for their support and guidance.
President Ryan called on Chief Financial Officer Sean Nelson for an update on the budget since the Trustees last met on May 8, 2012. The Mayor’s budget recommendations for the BPL were approved by the Boston City Council with the FY13 Operating Budget at $31.18 million, an increase of $1 million over the FY12 Operating Budget; the largest increase since 2008 demonstrating a major commitment by the city to the BPL. Funds will restore the materials budget to the FY11 level, fund obligated and some new positions, and increase fine arts insurance. The City assumed the cost of $150,000 for e-rate funding. CFO Nelson does not anticipate any further reduction in the e-rate funding. Through the leadership of Trustee and State Representative Byron Rushing, the Library for the Commonwealth and state aid budgets was level funded for FY 13 at $2.76 million.
Also discussed were the BPL’s upcoming five-year capital plan and the full slate of projects that are underway or in the planning process for FY13. It is anticipated that the BPL will expend between $14 million and $16 million on capital projects system-wide in FY13. Nearly half of those funds will be committed to the new East Boston Branch scheduled to be completed in the Fall of 2013. The balance of the funding will be allocated for branch improvements system-wide, information technology projects, energy initiatives, and key programming and facilities studies. Chairman Rudman thanked Trustee Rushing for his efforts on behalf of the state and City of Boston CFO Meredith Weenick for such a great fiscal report.
President Ryan called on Director of Administration and Technology David Leonard for a report on system-wide capital improvements. Mr. Leonard outlined three projects: a new system-wide facilities review to look at the health of buildings using the Compass Principles to develop the criteria for capital projects for the next 5 years. The transfer of documents to the Archival Center is the final phase. Some work on the McKim façade will be undertaken with critical repair funding. System-wide technology improvements include pay for print services, and the Integrated Library System go-live date of December 2012. The BPL is working in partnership with the City’s Department of Innovation and Technology on shared systems to better track building and service requests, energy management systems, improved video surveillance proving the ability to manage both centrally and remotely, plus improved and more efficient utilities management.
Mr. Leonard reported on the branch facilities study with Dudley, Roslindale and Jamaica Plain studies underway and noted that branch projects are overseen by the Public Facilities Department. In addition to city capital funding, the BPL is assisted with funds from the Citywide Friends of the BPL, local friends groups, and the BPL Foundation. Discussion followed. President Ryan responded to a question on the Jamaica Plain Branch and reported that the Mayor, President Ryan and Manager of Branch Libraries Christine Schonhart met with the Jamaica Plain Friends on early action items including installing bicycle racks, and electrical work. A design charette will take place in the fall using the existing study as a starting point.
Mr. Leonard reported on Central Library projects which include energy improvements, several deferred maintenance projects, and wayfinding/signage for both the Johnson and McKim buildings.
President Ryan reported on the next agenda item of BPL System-wide Capital Improvements. Remarking that the Johnson Building was designed 40 years ago, it is time to use the Compass principles to re-imagine and re-invigorate the building. She introduced Johnson Building development advisor Christopher Gordon for an overview of the early conceptual planning for the Johnson Building project. Citing that many open spaces in the building are underused, Mr. Gordon reported on components under consideration including: the creation of a children’s library; teen space, a community “living room”, commercial space for knowledge based retail and/or food service, a living room concept; increased displays; a conference center; and an update of Rabb Lecture Hall. The first steps include design and feasibility, market research, and building review studies including staff needs. Two requests for proposals have been issued: one for a market analysis to study the viability of adding commercial amenities to the Johnson building, and another for a design and feasibility study on redevelopment ideas for portions of the Johnson building. The timeline for selection of a designer and startup of Staff and Community Advisory Committees is fall 2012. All three studies are expected to be completed by winter 2012/spring 2013 timed for recommendations and budget plans for FY14. Discussion followed. Trustee La Camera asked about examples of other libraries that have incorporated commercial space other than food service. Mr. Gordon cited New York City, Salt Lake City and Vancouver, BC. Trustee Arenas congratulated the team for keeping the Compass Principles in each planning phase, and discussed market feasibility for commercial use. Trustee Rushing expressed his view that the public should be able to see into the building, and asked about possible landmark issues. He strongly supports being as imaginative as possible.
President Ryan encouraged everyone to participate in the process on line. She will meet with union leaders later in the day.
Chairman Rudman invited public comment.
Three members of the public commented: need to be mindful of staff space, increase staff involvement, support for a gift shop as a commercial use; and expression of excitement at a new look at public space; and a reiteration in support of the use of the Compass Principles in the planning projects.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 9:30 a.m.
Clerk to the Trustees