Personnel issues among discusses at LPL Board of Control meeting

By T. Scott Boatrght

 

Personnel concerns were among the issues discussed during Wednesday’s Lincoln Parish Library Board of Control meeting held in the LPL Board of Control Room.

An update on a search for a new director for the library, where Marcie Nelson is serving in an interim role, was tabled because no applications have yet been received with the deadline coming up on April 30.

“I think one of the problems with that is because we did not advertise it enough with the ALA (American Library Association), because that’s what we have done at Louisiana Tech,” said board member Sandra Dupree. “Because we got people galore when we did that.”

Vice Chair Amy Miller said the minimum fee to advertise through the ALA would be $350.

Miller said she would have to check to see if there was money in the budget to do so.

“I don’t think the budget can drive this considering that’s a big concern and that’s a minimum amount,” board member Charles Penuell said. 

Nelson pointed out that she has secured one grant already and is working on others, and those funds should be able to handle advertising fees.

Board member Bill Jones said he through a motion should be made to offer up to $500 for advertising should no applications be received by April 29 but withdrew the motion after Miller said she didn’t think the motion could be made before April 29 because considering spending additional advertising funds were not on the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting.

“After April 29 I will let the board know if we still have no applications and then we can call a special meeting for early May,” Miller said. “We don’t have to have a formal motion to do that.”

Also discussed were potentially filling two LPL positions currently vacant. One of those came with the recent departure of a custodian.

“There’s a couple of vacancies I would like to have the board consider filling,” Nelson said. “Actually, we have some other things I’d like to be considered also. One would be a change to a supervisor position for a person running a department, because I could really use that kind of help on the weekends and at night. A second position is already acting as a supervisor but their title was never formally changed in paperwork, so that needs to happen. The third one is a long-tenured employee whose (pay) rate needs to be revisited.

“Also, we recently lost a custodian. That position needs to be filled. And as of last July we had lost a full-timer and we replaced them with a part-timer, but we haven’t refilled that part-time position.”

Nelson added that because of the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns over last fall’s library millage election, she held off on bringing that issue up until the number of people visiting and utilizing the LPL. Those numbers have steadily climbed in recent months.

In the end the board approved a motion to fill the custodian vacancy while waiting to receive necessary budget numbers and information to make sure the other potential changes fall in line financially.

The board also discussed handling the upcoming term ends of board president Augusta Clark and Penuell, whose terms expire in June. The board decided to table that issue until next month’s meeting, which will be on May 18.

Also discussed during the meeting was potentially having the library open more days and hours during times now considered holiday periods and a request from Nelson to cut hours the library is open during the summer from 9 a.m – 8 p.m. to 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays through Thursday in the months of June and July.

The board unanimously approved a motion to leave the holiday schedule “as is” while also approving the June and July weekday hours change. Miller voted against reducing the hours in the month of June and July but voted in favor of leaving the holiday schedule “as is.”

Nelson ended the meeting by offering some good news to the board.

“The way it’s going now, I project our summer numbers (of monthly visits to the library by the public) to be basically where we were pre-COVID during the non-summer months,” Nelson said. “We’re looking in the range of 15,00 to 17,000 (visits). Pre-COVID numbers were around 23,000 in the summer, and if we stay on this trajectory, I feel we’ll be back in full swing with pre-COVID numbers by 2023. We have no signs of slowing down.”

 
 

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