The second-floor Thomas Library public restrooms soon will get a facelift.
Meeting Thursday, the Westchester Public Library Board accepted the low bid
of Vendramini Construction at $9,810 to replace the restroom tile, fixtures
and to install hands-free faucets and valves. Vendramini recently completed
an expansion and renovation of the first-floor Thomas restrooms making them
handicapped accessible, but there’s no room to expand the second-floor
Final acceptance of the Vendramini proposal is contingent on its review by
project architect Scott Virtue, who could not attend the meeting.
Other contractors submitting proposals were H&P Construction at $13,981 and
Tech Kitchen and Bath at $12,310.
This will be the third restroom upgrade for WPL; the main restrooms at the
Library Service Center also were renovated. WPL director Phil Baugher said
to minimize delays on the new Thomas project, work can’t start until all
materials are received and no additional payments will be allowed for
unforseen conditions discovered following demolition.
Tentative plans are to remodel the restrooms at Hageman Library and those on
the lower level of the LSC as well.
After a lengthy discussion, library trustees couldn’t agree for a second
month on what additional marketing, if any, WPL should undertake to increase
its visitation and circulation. A workshop may be scheduled.
Baugher said in 2010 Hoosier libraries began losing circulation. Although
WPL’s circulation is up at Hageman, system-wide circulation is down overall
with a 2013 goal of increasing circulation by 5 percent.
Advertising on the Chesterton/Duneland Chamber of Commerce’s new LED
monument sign near Indiana 49 and Porter Avenue has been discussed, and WPL
is planning to test flat-screen monitors at key locations in its buildings
to give visitors information.
But Baugher said that will serve patrons who are already at WPL, not attract
new people to its free offerings and events. Ten thousand people have WPL
library cards, but 10,000 in the community don’t, he noted. Year-to-date
190,345 materials have been circulated, a less than 1 percent increase over
Board member Michele Corazzo asked if hiring a marketing consultant should
be considered. Member Drew Rhed said, “No, that’s what we’re here for and (Baugher)
to advise us.” He felt money should be put in resources, not advertising.
“The stronger we become, stronger word of mouth becomes.”
Member Rick Hokanson asked who would a marketing campaign target, especially
if advertising on the Indiana 49 LED sign face which member Sharon Robbins
said changes quickly. Corazzo didn’t rule out periodic use of the sign for
special WPL notices.
Baugher said he’s in no way saying WPL isn’t doing a great job, but he
believes the library can do even better.
The board discussed as a possible marketing tool whether WPL should
commission a new South Shore poster in the historic series to promote the
WPL-operated Westchester Township Museum in the Brown Mansion. The initial
$10,000 cost could be reduced to $2,500 if all copies of the poster WPL
would receive are sold.
“How would people feel about us spending $10,000 in this economy?” asked
board member Abbe Trent. Baugher said WPL could tap its sizeable donated
gift funds rather than operating money. In all funds WPL has $7.6 million,
much of it in investments and reserve funds for a possible future facilities
2013 Plan of
Board members discussed the 2013 WPL budget. Baugher said this year’s is
$3,111,359 and the maximum 2013 budget is projected to be $3,198,477 or less
due to circuit breaker caps and/or shortfalls in collections.
Next year Baugher recommends maintaining the current WPL operating hours,
staffing and material-acquisitions levels and programming services yet
providing for possible reductions if necessary. Advertised will be a 2
percent pay increase for staff, and unexpended revenue will be transferred
to reserve funds at year’s end as has been WPL’s practice.
Planned 2013 projects would be replacing the existing WPL telephone system
and installing more security cameras in all facilities if not completed this
In other business, Baugher said there are 552 participants in the Thomas
summer reading program and 92 at Hageman. The children’s wrap-up party takes
place July 21.