Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Off to a Great Start

As the Houston Public Library Association moves into its 46th year of incorporation, we are pleased to welcome three new Trustees to our board. At the Annual General Meeting held in the Canfor Room last night (Feb 22) Natasha Tenbrinke, Lisa Makuk and Joe Aersens all accepted nominations and were elected by acclimation for two-year terms. We also welcomed back Rob Newell and Kim Marks for two-year terms. These five volunteers round out a complete board of nine Library Trustees. Until last night, we had been short two board members for some time.

At the same time the three new board members joined our team two others took their leave as Trustees. Having completed the maximum eight consecutive years permissible under the Library Act, Helen Ludditt and Margaret Monkman passed the torch – so to speak – and retired from the board. It is with great sadness that we see these two amazing women step down. HPL wishes them both the very best, but we know that we will still see them at the circulation desk and at fundraising events where they will continue to volunteer on behalf of HPL as members of the Friends of the Library.
With that, we move forward into a fresh new year full of possibilities – both good and bad. Funding issues still hover, like the grim reaper, himself, in board rooms and budget meetings all over the province. At HPL we remain optimistic, but the reality is that the province and the District of Houston hold the purse strings and can draw them tighter at any moment. On the sunnier side of things, we have already secured funding for one project: new tables and chairs for the Canfor Room. Approval for a grant from the Bulkely Valley Community Foundation along with a donation from the Friends of the Library will enable us to purchase comfortable folding chairs and sleek new folding tables. Meetings will never be the same again!

Our brand new popcorn popper is on its way to us, too. Thanks to a generous donation from Bev Lyons of PV Restaurant, our movie nights and matinees will be more theatre-like experiences for our patrons. And we won’t have to schlep the popcorn popper back and forth from the Credit Union any more! (Though we are very grateful to the Credit Union for allowing us to use theirs and for supplying the popcorn free of charge!)

So far, so good! New Trustees, new popcorn popper, new tables and chairs... 2010 is off to a great start.

Friday, February 12, 2010

It's No Turkey Dinner...

I know it’s not spring – Yet! But it’s coming fast and with it all sorts of stressful demands that libraries face on an annual basis at that time of the year. AGMs, SOFIs, PLSB surveys, summer student applications and the summer students that follow them... By the time summer hits, Librarians are hoping for a breather, only to discover that it’s time to start thinking about budgets and grant reports and fall programming and .... Well, suffice it to say, it’s always something.

At HPL the something we are focussing on is the AGM, scheduled for February 22nd. AGMs are a lot like Christmas dinner; hours of preparation and it’s all over with in about 30 minutes. Then there’s the clean up! More reports to submit and new board members to train before we can settle into a routine. (Not to mention dive into the next something!)

With only ten days before the AGM, I am pretty much ready to go. All that’s left is to arrange for the goodies that we traditionally serve, tweak the agenda and print the Annual Report. It’s always good to be ahead of the game, but that often just means more time to worry about the details – like do I have the right dates on the reports. Last year I didn’t!

The AGM is a requirement for all public libraries. It is supposed to be the time when we tell the supporting public what we’ve done with all those tax dollars that have been channelled our way over the previous year. Unlike some governments (how’s that for diplomacy?), we are held accountable and have to justify our spending. It’s part of the game, one of the hoops we must jump through – there are many others!

I’m happy to report that in 2009, our fiscal responsibilities were handled quite well. We achieved a great deal with what we had and ended with a bit left over. Little by little my vision for HPL is evolving into reality and over the next few years, I believe that we will continue to do well. As long as our funding remains stable and no unforeseen disasters strike! But that is also part of the game; the unknown future on which we all bank to provide us with a good and prosperous return.

So, the date to remember is Monday, February 22nd. The time to remember is 7 p.m. The place to go is the Houston Public Library. The event is the Annual General Meeting. And while it’s no turkey dinner with all the trimmings, it is for a very good cause.