Friday, August 08, 2008

Meeting Minutes: May 17, 2004

Minutes of the May 17, 2004 meeting at Temple Beth Am, Miami

Present: Kathleen Clotfelter, Robin Coller, Heidi Estrin, Inez Feingold, Jackie Fine, Jean Genuth, Etta Gold, Phyllis Gutmann, Annette Rindner, Sara Schandelson, Schlomit Schwarzer, Barbara Share, Peter Tarjan

After general greetings, Etta introduced Peter Tarjan, an author who had spoken at her recent Ideas Through Books meeting at Temple Beth Am. Tarjan is a contributor to and editor of Children Who Survived the Final Solution (published by iUniverse). The book was written by 26 South Florida "child survivors," now in their 60's and 70's. They wrote from varying age perspectives and about differing Holocaust experiences. Their common experience was that adult survivors told them "you don't remember anything, you were too young." But they did remember, and this book is their testament. The books may be purchased at a discount through Etta Gold.

Schlomit Schwarzer gave a presentation on library planning and renovation. She has been through many renovations in her professional life, and describes it as "a painful experience." She says the most important thing is to stay involved in the process, even though your parent institution may not think it is necessary to involve you, because architects do not understand librarians' needs. Key suggestions:

  • find other people who've been through a similar renovation so they can share their experiences and warn you of pitfalls
  • have a weekly meeting with the architect and/or construction people to make sure they keep your needs in mind and so that you can catch their mistakes
  • think about current and future needs, plans for new services you haven't started yet, projections of how many students or patrons you'll be serving in future
  • measure your collection. Know what type of materials you'll need to shelve, as you might need different widths for different materials.
  • when budgeting space, remember that a table also needs space for chairs around it, and needs room for the chairs to pull out from the table.
  • make sure lights are lined up between the stacks
  • plan space to fit use - do you need quiet areas, casual areas, space for classes or meetings or training? Configure space based on work flow.
  • think about weight load (especially if not on the ground floor). Books are very heavy. How much weight can the floor bear?
  • Other general things to consider: air conditioning, level of humidity, lighting, telecommunications needs, signage, extra wiring for future electronics needs, fire codes, acoustics, security...

Schlomit will send out a bibliography, but a few of the books she brought to show us are:

  • Checklist of Library Building Design Considerations by William W. Sannwald (ALA)
  • Libraries for the Future, Planning Buildings That Work by RMG Martin (ALA)
  • Library Bildings, Equipment, and the ADA by Susan Cirillo (ALA)

    She suggests that school librarians go the ALA's AASL Information Power web page for guidance. She also suggested visiting for the "Whole Building Design Guide."

    Barbara Share is taking a course this summer on Planning Libraries for the 21st Century at TAFT Educational Center in Connecticut. See for more information.

    Phyllis Gutmann said that when she had to move her library to a new space, she had a rep from Highsmith come out and consult with her for free on redesigning the space. Highsmith's main number is 1-800-558-2110.

    Etta Gold spoke about Mission Statements and their importance. She said that they define your library, and their purpose is to ensure that everyone knows what you are aiming for. Staff must identify with and own the mission or it won't work. Other stakeholders (such as the board of trustees) should be able to fit the mission into their own goals for the organization.

    Etta distributed the new SSC Standards of Excellence document, which is a very useful guideline.

    Heidi announced that we need hosts for next year's meetings. Phyllis Gutmann and Inez Feingold are tentative hosts, but we still need others. The idea of meeting at a Jewish Book Fair was also brought up.

    Heidi also brought up the topic of membership recruitment. She suggested that next year, each SFAJL member should commit to personally calling one unaffiliated librarian and trying to get them interested in our chapter. Those present seemed amenable to the idea.

    The meeting was ajourned around 2:00 pm with a tour of Etta's library and of the wonderful artwork of Beth Am's students, displayed in the gym upstairs.

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