Minutes March 21, 2011

Association for Rural and Small Libraries, Board of Directors Meeting

PresentBecky Heil, Andrea Berstler, Lesley Boughton, Donna Brice, Jim Connor, Louise Greene,

   Tena Hanson, Dwight McInvaill, Jennifer Peterson, Sonja Plummer-Morgan & Steve Seale.

 AbsentTimothy Owens, Larry Grieco, Alison Miller, and Carla Lehn.

2 min.     I.          Welcome and Call to Order         Sonja Plummer-Morgan, President

Since Sonja had not arrived to the meeting yet, VP/President Elect Becky Heil started the meeting and welcomed all who were present –

3 min.    II.        Consent Agenda

 –         Approve Minutes of January 24, 2011*/**          Alison Miller, Secretary

–        Treasurer’s Report */**                                         Andrea Berstler, Treasurer

 Andrea briefly discussed the treasurer’s report since it was the first time seeing it in this format prepared by AMR.  It’s called “February 2011 Condensed” version of the financials.  The only thing missing from it is the itemized check register report, which she felt other board members wouldn’t be interested in.  First sheet is the total summary.  Revenue for month of Feb was $1187, and expenses were $783. We have $83, 515 in the checking account as of the end of February.

 Motion to approve the consent agenda by Jim Connor, and seconded by Donna Brice.  Consent agenda approved.


10 min. III.       Executive Committee Report   Sonja

·         Call for committee members from the membership

Sonja announced that Tena Hanson is the new Chair of the Membership Committee, and will be working with AMR to update the letters that are sent to members to remind them to renew, etc.  Larry was initially going to be Membership Chair, but decided his plate is full with the NSF grant.

 Sonja announced that there are committees for which there is no Chair, such as Nominating Committee.  She referred members to a document Carla prepared in Google Docs which identifies where there are openings.  She asked members to look at that list and let her know if there’s a place they would like to see themselves be appointed.

·         Subpoena

            While the word “subpoena” seemed rather alarming, the good news is it’s not as bad as it sounds.  AMR has been going through our financial records back to 2007 because of a subpoena request for information about a conference registration fee from a library in West Virginia.  They were asking specifically about a check sent to ARSL on behalf of a specific person.  Our records unfortunately reside with Clarion University for that time period.  Becky was the Treasurer at that time, and did have a record of receiving the check for this person, and does have a copy of the deposit slip for the month of September, but since they didn’t give the check #, she couldn’t verify for sure that it was deposited, although the requestor seemed to have the information that it was deposited.  Essentially the way things worked back then was that money was sent to Clarion, they kept track of it all, and the checks were sent to Becky for deposit just in an envelope with no information about what each check was for.  Becky copied down the check numbers and made the deposit.  AMR responded to the subpoena by saying that we no longer have those records, but that they could check with Clarion to see what information is available. If they wanted a copy of the check numbers deposited, we would be happy to get that to them.  We have not heard anything else about it.

 When Sonja arrived later in the meeting, she summarized by saying that AMR is on the case, and we really don’t have to worry about this unless we hear from them again.


20 min. IV.       President’s Report        Sonja

  • ARSL Meeting on Tax Exempt Status**

Sonja reported that Executive Committee had a meeting with AMR on our Tax Exempt Status.  We clarified for them that we are seeking a 501 c3, not a 501 c6. Essentially what AMR said to us is that we should have been filing an IRS form 990 all along – Clarion should have filed when they were handling our records, and BCR should have filed when we were with them. The IRS could penalize us for not having filed these.  BCR was filing their form 990 as a group, and therefore we were operating under the assumption that our responsibility was taken care of.  AMR informs us that it does not.  Going forward it means we’re going to be able to file our 990 and make it right with the IRS.  They may or may not expect some retribution back to 2007.  So while we have really made some great strides, it did uncover these issues:  (1) where are our records from those time periods?; and (2) what happens if the IRS comes back and asks us to file 990’s for those years?  But in the meantime, we will be doing it right in the future, and that we will get our 501 c3 status, and AMR feels we will come out stronger from having gone through this process.  The executive committee did authorize having a CPA review the application ($250/hour for a couple of hours) in order to make sure the information is presented in the best way to the IRS to limit as much as possible any liability we may have incurred from not filing in the past.

·         Directors and Officers Liability Insurance*/**

Three quotes were provided to everyone.  Sonja asked if the group is ready to make this decision, or did they want more time? Decision was made to table this item, and to have members review the choices and provide their feedback/recommendation to Sonja before the end of the week.  She will share the synthesis of that feedback out to everyone, and we can use that to help us make that decision. 

·         Board Meeting at Conference (Sun only? Or Monday am too?)

Since most can’t get a flight out Sunday night, staying over to complete the board meeting on Sunday morning until noon would allow folks to fly home Monday afternoon.  Andrea commented that we really need that Monday morning to get the work done.  Consensus reached to stay over for a Monday morning board meeting.  Sonja asked Becky to work with Steve to be sure it is included in the hotel contract.

  •  Continuation of Rural Libraries Newsletter as a Member Benefit

Sonja reported that The Rural Libraries Newsletter has been around for some time for ARSL, and has been a source of confusion.  Some members have gotten it, and some have not, and it does cost us to provide it.  She recommends that we switch to a monthly ARSL electronic newsletter.  Member Services Committee is already looking at possibilities for making this happen.  Constant Contact would be a good option. Sonja is meeting with Alison later this week.  She sees our own newsletter as a member benefit, and mentioned that we get great coverage from WebJunction’s newsletter as well. 

 Jennifer commented that doing a monthly newsletter may be a challenge – both in developing content and in terms of producing the newsletter. The final decision is in the committee’s hands.

·         Firming up Conference Partners through 2015

Sonja has asked Patty Hector to take on this project.  Patty is working on revising the Conference Partner Document, as well as putting an actual form on the website that will allow states to express interest in hosting the conference.  Then a formal decision-making process will be developed to determine where the upcoming conferences will be held, and who will be the conference partners and what role(s) they will play.

 She mentioned we have several locations who have discussed bringing the conference to their state, but we have no partnerships in place.  Patty has already revised the conference partnership form, and it looks great.  She is going to approach those folks in the years they have mentioned, and firm up the partnership agreements for those years.  2015 remains open.  So by the end of the next couple of months, we should have Partnership Agreements in place through 2014, and a location determined for 2015.

Our PR person is doing a remarkable job with our press releases.  If your committee has news, you can forward it to Sonja.  She and Sonja talk frequently via e-mail, and another press release is forthcoming.

  •  Logo use policy*/**

Sonja has received at least 3 requests from people who want to put our logo on their website, so this is why she wants to finalize a policy.  A couple of board members, Sonja and AMR have drafted this policy.  She wanted it to be as simple as possible, simply directing those inquiries to Sara at AMR, and to use some basic rules and standards.  She asked for a motion to accept it.  Louise asked if our logo is copyrighted.  Sonja said that AMR will work us through that process, and that this policy is a pre-cursor of the copyright process.

Louise said she didn’t see anything in the policy about using the policy in a for-profit setting.  If we’re partnering with a for-profit, this may be an issue.  Andrea said she also thinks we should reserve the right to ask someone to remove our logo if it felt it didn’t meet our logo guidelines policy.

 Sonja will go back to the drawing board and add those two things. 

·         Nominating Committee and Process – need to have slate of candidates by May 1 for approval at May 16 Board meeting and June online election

Looking for a Nominating Committee Chair, and if you have an interest in being an officer, please let Carla know.  Also, if you know someone who would be good for our board, please pass those names along to Carla.  Andrea suggested the chair be someone who is either in the middle of their board term, or if they are ending their board term this year.

  •  Update on Micro-Library Award

Andrea will put together draft guidelines and application process for Becky and Sonja to review before the next board meeting.  The plan is to make an announcement at the 2011 conference that the first award will be presented at the 2012 conference.  Sonja suggested this will give us some time to discuss with Rebecca Miller at Library Journal, to be sure she’s on board, and to ensure we don’t step on any toes. 

Jennifer said she and Rebecca have tentatively planned to do a Best Small Library webinar with this year’s winner later this fall, after the conference.  We could possibly do some dual promotion for it during the webinar.

  •  Membership Development Committee Chair Change

Sonja reported that Larry has decided to forgo the Membership Committee Chair, as he has his hands full with the NSF project.  Tena Hanson has agreed to Chair the committee, and Sonja thanked her for her willingness to do that.

 Other Business:

 (1) Sonja congratulated Jennifer Peterson on being named one of LJ’s “Movers and Shakers,” and thanked her for the shout out Jennifer gave to ARSL  in the LJ announcement.  It was great press for the organization.

 (2) One of the things Sonja finds she does as President is the “unsung” projects such as 501 c3 etc., and the newest one is that Liability Insurance that AMR has recommended.  Sonja feels strongly that this is an important thing for ARSL to have, and so Sara from AMR will be putting together information on General Liability Insurance. 

 (3) Sonja will be going to ALA in New Orleans, so if there are meetings people want her to attend, or if others who will be there want to meet up, please let her know.

 10 min.  V.        Proposed Budget for 2010/11*/**                            Andrea

Andrea reported that Executive Committee did not make changes in the budget reviewed and approved by the board at the last meeting.  They just refined some of the titles of line items, but no changes were made in the proposed amounts.  Until Conference budget is finalized, and we have action on that, the organization budget won’t be revised.

10 min.  VI.       Proposed Conflict of Interest Policy*/**                 Andrea & Becky

Drafted by Andrea and Becky, and reviewed by Executive Committee who recommends approval.  Becky reminded us that we must have such a policy in order to complete our application for 501 c3 status.  No changes were identified by members. 

 Motion to approve the Conflict of interest policy made by Jennifer Peterson, seconded by Andrea Berstler.  Motion passed.

10 min.  VII.     2011 Texas Conference Update                               Steve Seale, Chair

 Steve reported everything is full speed ahead.  Program proposals are being taken.  Registration will be up by mid-April.  Three keynote speakers have been identified – Unshelved guys; Joe Bob Briggs; Linda Braun, a technology presenter.  Steve feels they are the best presenters he’s ever seen.  Steve talked to John Asmundson at ALA who will be helping with press releases and dissemination throughout the library community.  Becky is very close to having the conference budget completed, and it will be brought to the board asap. Conference team is doing a great job.  No big issues so far.

Becky reported on registration process.  Sara at AMR is working with vendor team to get that info up.  A one page info sheet about the conference will be up by April 1.  Shortly thereafter, registration page and vendor pages should be ready as well.

Registration fees will be simplified.  $200 for members for the full conference.  Non-members will be $225 or $250.  Individual days will be $100 per day, and there will be a special rate for library school students of $100 for the full conference, or $50 per day.  We will be in a high population area (Dallas/Fort Worth) which includes 2 library schools within 30 minutes of the hotel.  We anticipate a very big turnout, including a lot of walk-ins and drive-ins.

Alternate hotels are being discussed in case we fill the conference hotel.  Steve will be checking them out personally, and rates will be the same as or below the $109 we have from the conference hotel.


 10 min.  VIII.    Partnerships Committee                                           Timothy Owens, Chair

 Timothy couldn’t be here, and asked Dwight to report.  They held a virtual meeting on March 15 attended by Larry, Louise, Timothy and Dwight.  Louise has developed a state-by-state matrix of resources and opportunities for rural libraries.  It’s a work in progress, and she will be asking for info from the board to add to it.

 Dwight said that Larry reported on the National Science Foundation grant – science and math live events at rural libraries with two content experts from local colleges – a scientist and a mathematician.

 Dwight talked about the Benchmarks project of the Gates Foundation with ICMA.  A committee is working on a framework for the benchmarks.  Dwight was one of 50 people asked to review and comment on the draft framework.  A smaller committee of 17 people are incorporating comments, and that will be shared soon.  Dwight will follow up with Gates Foundation contact, who continues to ask how ARSL’s 501 c3 application is coming along.

Dwight also reported on an e-mail from Timothy who said to let the board know that the Partnerships Committee is in touch with Bernie Vavrek, who is looking for a home for the Center for the Study of Rural Librarianship.

10 min.  IX.       Member Services Committee                                   Alison Miller, Chair

 Alison is ill today, and couldn’t be on the call.  Jennifer offered that the committee — she, Alison and Andrea — have had trouble getting together, however, they are in the process of clarifying roles around ARSL’s media channels to coordinate with the excellent work being done on the press releases, and a determination of who posts what where. 

Andrea added that biggest project is to come up with a newsletter for all our members, in place of the “Rural Libraries Newsletter” formerly provided to Premiere Members.  They are looking for the best format to use to send to members.

Jennifer asked if anyone else would be at ALA.  They have been looking for other programs through which to promote ARSL.  Dwight announced that he and Larry are presenting a program on Saturday – “Public Programs that work in Rural Libraries.”  Jennifer asked Dwight if they would be willing to include a couple of ARSL talking points in their presentation to ensure attendees are aware of ARSL and its conference.  The committee will come up with a paper handout that can also be used in that regard.

April ARSL/WebJunction webinar featuring Andrea already has terrific registration numbers.  WebJunction will be promoting both that event, and the conference proposal requests.  Jennifer asked Dwight to provide a brief paragraph to publicize their ALA workshop as well.

 5 min.    X.        PUBLIC COMMENT


Next Board Meeting – Monday, May 16, 2011


 The meeting was adjourned after 1 hour and 17 minutes.

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