Minutes May 16, 2011

Association for Rural and Small Libraries, Board of Directors Meeting

Present: Timothy Owens, Sonja Plummer-Morgan, Alison Miller, Andrea Berstler, Becky Heil, Dwight McInvaill, Jennifer Peterson, Larry Grieco, Jim Connor, Lesley Boughton, Louise Greene, Steve Seale, Donna Brice, Tena Hanson & Carla Lehn.



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

 II.        Consent Agenda

 –         Approve Minutes of March 21, 2011*/**            Alison Miller, Secretary

–        Current Financial Statements */**                        Andrea Berstler, Treasurer

 VP-President elect called the meeting to order in Sonja’s absence. March minutes were not yet available, Alison will transcribe them from the recording, as she was not at the March meeting. 

 Andrea asked if there were any questions about the financial statements provided.  There were none.  Timothy moved, Larry seconded to approve the financial statements as presented.  Motion carried.

III.       President’s Report        Sonja

·         Subpoena Status

Sonja explained that we have satisfied everything that was asked for that we were able to provide.  AMR believes that we have done what we can do, and that there will probably not be any additional concerns about this.  Sonja will let the board know immediately if anything else comes up on this.

·         Rural Library Services Newsletter Relationship

It was the consensus of the board that we wanted to move to an electronic newsletter from ARSL itself to our members.  The RLS Newsletter has been provided as a membership benefit to those who paid for the Premium membership or the Institutional Membership, but there have been issues and concerns about if everyone who should get it is getting it.  Andrea will follow up with AMR to be sure that the final bill is paid to the RLS Newsletter.  Alison asked if the Premiere Membership category will be changed as a result.  Sonja said yes, it will eventually be phased out.  Sonja is working with Sara at AMR to determine the best way to do that. It was  determined that the by-laws do not require changes in the membership structure to be taken to the membership.

·         Nonprofit Status Update

Sonja reported that happily, by the end of this week, we will have the 501 c3 application submitted.  AMR’s controller has asked for more detail in the narrative that was developed by Sonja, Becky and Timothy.  The budget submitted originally showed a 2% loss for each of the next two years.  This was revised once we recognized that we had budgeted for website “design” each year, and that isn’t accurate.  Fixing that created a brief gain in revenue for each of the next two years.  AMR wants very specific information on the application, is so that we don’t get any “red flags” for the IRS that would slow our application down.  The logo was another issue that came up, and Timothy was able to find the Crowdspring contract that shows that we do have the copyright.  But we need to find out if we need to trademark it.  If ARSL is going to charge for the logo, the 501 c3 application will be more complicated.  Louise has agreed to do the research on this.  If ARSL pays another organization for the scholarship and emerging leaders programs, that sets off red flags for the IRS.  However, since we are paying the scholarship recipients and the Emerging Leaders directly, that makes it OK. 

 The main thing outstanding for the 501 c3 application is that the IRS requires that we send a copy of the by-laws.  But the by-laws that are sent have the current name on them, not the new name, which is “The Association for Rural & Small Libraries, Inc.”  The question is whether or not we can change the name on the by-laws without taking it to the membership.  It seemed to be Sara’s reading of the by-laws that made it sound like we would have to take it back to the membership.  Timothy said we announced in the business meeting last year about our progress on receiving the 501 c3. After much discussion, members agreed that we can move ahead. 

 Andrea moved that we approve this change to the by-laws, and that we develop a press release for the membership that educates and updates them on the 501 c3 process.  Jim seconded the motion.  Motion carried. Carla will make the change, and send to Sonja and post on Google Docs.

·         Website

We had a number of people asking Steve Eyler for website changes.  This is difficult for Steve since he doesn’t know all of the committee members and doesn’t know if they’re ok to suggest changes for the website if he hasn’t heard from a board member.  Steve doesn’t charge us for what he’s doing, so we need to reduce the amount of traffic to him as much as possible.  So please go back to sending things to Sonja, and she will get them to Steve.

 ·         ALA – New Orleans

            Sonja will be there.  If you have meetings you would like her to attend or people to meet, or want to get together, just let her know.


IV.       Executive Committee                 Sonja & Timothy

·         General Liability Insurance*/**

Sonja said we got a quote for this  – almost $8,000 – and she asked Sara to get other quotes because that one was so large.  So we are not ready at this point for action on this issue.  AMR  recommends to all their associations that they purchase it, and Sara did not feel that this was an imminent need. Louise asked if it affects our 501 c3?  Sonja said it did not.  Andrea said she feels that this will be most needed at a point where we have our own location and/or start bringing on staff or contractors.  Others asked if we are covered for the conference this year?  Steve and Andrea said the hotel contract was approved and signed by AMR, so our understanding is that we are currently covered for the conference under AMR’s policy.

·         Directors and Officers Liability Insurance*/**

Sonja referred members to the bids we’ve received.  She and Timothy discussed them and recommend the one from Great American, which looked best for our needs.  Moved by Andrea, seconded by Jennifer to accept the bid from Great American.  Motion carried.

·         Timothy update

Timothy reported that he is leaving the NC State Library at the end of this month, and has accepted a job at IMLS in Washington DC, as a Program Officer in the Grants to States program.  Members congratulated Timothy and wished him well.  He also noted that he won’t have access to the state library’s webconferenceing service, so that will need to be taken on by someone else.

V.        Treasurer’s Report         Andrea

·         Conference Budget*/**                                        Becky

  • ARSL 2011 Budget */**                                      Andrea

 Becky reviewed the Conference Budget which is built on 200 people for full conference at $200, and 100 people who each attend one day.  We anticipate about 50 free registrations, which includes presenters, vendors, etc., for a total of 350 people.  Largest budget items include: $10,000 for 3 keynote speakers, $3,000 to help break-out speakers who need assistance to get to the conference, and $2,000 to bring the Best Small Library folks to the conference to make a presentation, although that is still under discussion.  History of this is that in some previous years (not all) we have had conference leaders spend funds that had not been approved by the board, therefore, we are requesting board approval for the conference budget that will be used by this year’s committee.  A board policy was established in this regard. To exceed expenditures in the approved budget, the conference committee will need to come back to the executive committee or board for approval.  Steve mentioned that as conference chair, the budget is originally drafted based on best guesses about numbers of attendees, vendors, etc.  He believes the budget figures will be “moving targets,” that he may need to come back to the executive committee or board for approval.

 There were no questions.  Louise moved and Andrea seconded to approve the conference budget as presented.  Motion carried.

Andrea then asked for questions on the ARSL 2011 budget.  She stated that it’s probably as accurate as possible – working to get final reports from BCR, and including the draft conference budget.  We will re-visit the budget later this year as things firm up, but we need to get a board approved budget to AMR which provides them with spending limits, as they pay the bills for us. Carla noted that “conference vendors” amount is projected at $45,000  seems high – Andrea confirmed that this is a typo – should be $4,500.  Timothy asked about the $500 left to pay for our ALA Emerging Leader, of the $1,000 total, but he doesn’t see that on the budget.  Andrea agreed to add a line item budget of $1,000 annually, under Administrative Expenses, noting it as Emerging Leader.  She said that brings budgeted expenses for the year to $71,000 and budgeted income to $87,000.

 Becky moved to approve the conference budget as amended.  Timothy explained that a second is not required. Motion carried.


VI.       Nominating Committee Report*/**             Lesley Boughton, Chair

Lesley reported that the Nominating Committee recommends for VP/President Elect, Andrea Berstler.  Because Andrea would be moving into that position, that gives us 5 board openings to fill –  4 for 3 year terms and 1 for a one year term, and we had six applicants.  Two are current board members – Donna and Steve.  The other 4 would be new:  Paul Healey, University of IL; Sharon Michie, NC — our Emerging Leader; Shirley Vonderhaar from IA, who chairs our conference scholarships subcommittee, and Lorie Womack from Utah.

             We have two options for the election:  (1) would be to offer a contested election, putting all 6 on the ballot and a write in.  In this case, the candidate with the least votes would not be elected, and the candidate with the next least votes would get the 1 year term.  (2) In order to implement our uncontested slate as we’ve done in the past, we would need to remove one candidate.

             Sonja asked if the committee has a recommendation between the two election options.  Lesley said that we wanted to get the board involved in the discussion.  She said the committee recognizes that the organization is maturing, and will at some point want to have a contested election as a way to engage the membership, but the board can decide whether they want to go there now or not. 

                        Also, the recommended by-laws change is now moot.  In the Articles of Incorporation, Article 5, Section 7 – the board of the directors has the authority to amend the by-laws themselves with a 2/3 majority.

         Larry moved and Louise seconded that we hold an un-contested election for this year, with Sharon Miche, Paul Healey, Steve Seale, and Donna Brice, with Lorie Womack being assigned the one year term.


VII.     Conference Update         Steve Seale, Chair

 Steve reported that his experience says that people tend to register late.  Registration opened a couple of weeks ago, and it’s been extremely slow so far.  Several states have announced there will be scholarships for people to attend, but very few of those people have registered.  All the signs are good.  Program committee did an outstanding job of soliciting and then choosing programs.  We are waiting now to hear back about which presenters will be accepting our offer.  We’ve been hearing from some vendors.  Donna is chair of that subcommittee and reported that although only one has registered, she’s heard from several others that they intend to participate.  John Asmundson from ALA has been extremely helpful – sending information out through his networks.  An overflow hotel has been selected.  An issue has been the convoluted registration process at AMR.  Becky has done a great job working with Sara at AMR to try to streamline it, but it has been an issue.  Summary – so far, so good!


VIII.    Member Services Committee         Alison Miller, Chair

 ·         Online Newsletter Update

Alison reported that she and Jennifer have been co-chairing the committee, but since Alison has had her workload substantially increased, Jennifer will be the Chair and she will remain a  committee member.

Alison sent out a sample of the electronic newsletter through Constant Contact to board members, and got a few comments back.  As we move forward, the committee will be putting out a call for more content ideas so that we have a variety of news to share with our members.

·         Media Channels in conjunction with Press Releases

Jennifer posted the notes from their committee meeting in Google Docs.  They don’t plan to do any committee recruitment at this point, but want to have a committee recruitment table at the fall conference in order to get more members involved.

 Jennifer has been appointed Chair of ALA’s Rural, Native, and Tribal Libraries of All Kinds Committee. (RNTLOAK)  She will attend their meeting at ALA in New Orleans.  (Members congratulated Jennifer on her appointment.)  Alison and Jennifer will create a small article for the May newsletter on events of particular interest for rural libraries at ALA.  They would also like to try to create an informal event where people can meet up, and that will be noted in the newsletter as well.  Also, because we are an ALA affiliate, we will be able to put some printed materials out at the Affiliates table.  Their plan is to use print copies of the newsletter for that purpose.

 We can also have an ARSL liaison position to the RNTLOAK committee.  We will want to be sure we fill that for this year.  Jennifer believes this is a great opportunity to think about what we want to look to ALA to help us achieve, as she will be in a position to influence the direction.

 Jennifer reported on their committee meeting: In terms of our social media work, we decided that live chat on the ARSL website should be de-prioritized.  Sonja has been doing that alone, but we feel the committee has it’s hands full with other responsibilities at this point.  We have several Facebook admins.  Jennifer will be approving the Facebook requests, and Alison will approve the LinkedIn requests.  Andrea will be creating an automatic feed between Facebook and Twitter.  We want to encourage everyone to feel free to post in order to create more traffic.  Andrea will be posting the press releases to the blog, and we will request a website change to focus on the blog traffic.  Andrea remains committed to responding to posts on the listserv when no one else responds.  We will also be looking at transitioning to a Facebook page from a Facebook group.  It was a very productive meeting.

IX.       Membership Development Committee                    Tena Hanson, Chair

Tena reported that she has two other members on her committee, and she did post a written report of their committee meeting on Google Docs.  They identified goals and formulated a “to do” list.  First they are working on revising the new member letter and the renewal letter that AMR sends out.  Both of those documents are in Google Docs for members to review and give feedback.  A draft job description for the Key Contacts was revised.  They are brainstorming ways to bring in new members.  They would like to post the Key Contact Job Description on the website so it can be linked from the new member letter.  Tena asked if this document needs to be approved by the board.  It was determined that since they are working on items the board has tasked them to do,there is no reason to have that approved, but are happy that they are providing opportunities for input from board members.


X.        Partnerships Committee                                           Timothy Owens, Chair

Timothy reported for Dwight who had to leave the meeting early that progress is being made on building relationships with both the Gates Foundation and ICMA, and he will be representing ARSL at the Public Access Technology Benchmarks project meeting in Chicago, along with several other organizations and state libraries.  The Association will get a little funding as a result of this, and will be part of the development of these benchmarks.

 They have also been discussing with Bernie Vavrek the possibility of helping to find a new home for the Center for the Study of Rural Librarianship, and have been approached by Taped Editions, with some grant assistance for public libraries.

 Louise has been working on a database of rural libraries’ resources.

 ·         Pushing the Limits Project Update    Larry Grieco

Larry reported that the project is right where it should be after one year of work.  Larry serves as an advisor to the team that is developing films that will be used in the project.  They just completed a rural librarian survey that was very successful – they got over 300 responses, most from ARSL members.  They would like to have a focus group at the ARSL conference.  The team will meet in person in Chicago in October.


 There was no public comment.

Next Board Meeting – Monday, July 18, 2011

The meeting adjourned after 2 hours and 8  minutes.



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