There are some big changes at Hageman Library in Porter, and the Westchester
Public Library Board wants to see them in person.
Meeting Thursday, board members agreed to conduct their 7 p.m. Nov. 12
meeting at Hageman. The board usually meets at Thomas Library in Chesterton.
Library director Phil Baugher said Hageman branch manager Suzi Chomel and
employees there have rearranged the floor plan. ďI think it really looks
great. Itís more open, more inviting, less cluttered.Ē
The Story Hour area is now by the window, and computers and book stacks were
moved to enable a better flow. Library Board president Vern Odom said
members also can inspect the new furnaces and air conditioning unit
installed at Hageman earlier this year.
In other business, Baugher reported Thomas Library restrooms were kept busy
with about 70 inquiries for their location during the Sept. 19/20 Wizard of
Oz Festival in downtown Chesterton. The two-day library circulation of
materials slumped to 1,179 items. 2009 weekend circulation (excluding 4th of
July) averages 1,810 items.
Baugher said he believes itís worth being open during Oz Fest to serve WPL
patrons despite their difficulty finding a parking space in Thomasí own
lots. ďI donít know how they get here,Ē said Odom.
Overall September circulation was up 6.18 percent and up 7.05 percent
year-to-date with a total 297,179 items circulated this year. Public service
units, each one a single opportunity to serve a patron, were up 12 percent
in September and 10 percent year-to-date with 713,743 PSUs recorded.
By unanimous vote with members Karen Nash and Sharon Robbins absent, the
Library Board approved increasing the sum of WPLís credit card accounts from
$40,000 to a maximum combined $60,000. All charges are paid in full when the
bill is due.
The charge limit for the acquisitions manager also was raised from $20,000
to $25,000 and for the administrative assistant from $10,000 to $25,000. The
director and head custodian each have a $5,000 charge limit.
Baugher said a problem arose when 15 laptops were ordered last month
exceeding the previous $10,000 limit, and that more book ordering is being
done online with credit cards. The laptops will be used for staff training
and for public computer classes that begin Monday.
A public hearing last night on WPLís proposed 2010 budget drew no comment. A
second public hearing and adoption is set for a special meeting Oct. 22.
Baugher said WPL received its 2008 property-tax settlement check from Porter
County in the amount of $133,000.
The Library Board voted 5-0 to rejoin the Indiana Library Federation at a
cost of $2,000 after it was announced ILF will oppose any legislation to
consolidate libraries; last year the federation was not so inclined, said
Baugher, prompting WPL trustees to withdraw.
The library itself and administrators individually are ILF members. Baugher
said he learned at a recent ILF forum that although a library-consolidation
bill might be introduced, passage in the coming General Assembly session
isnít likely. WPL strongly opposed last yearís consolidation efforts.
On another matter, Baugher said it now appears WPL and other public
libraries will not have to test the ink for lead in its Childrenís
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has determined that despite a new
law, libraries have no obligation to test. Concern arose over lead in some
paint on toys from China, where increasingly books are being published.
Jane Walsh-Brown, assistant WPL director and director of the WPL-operated
Westchester Township History Museum, said the museumís current exhibit on
the Life and Work of Earl H. Reed is generating a lot of interest.
The exhibit, which ends Nov. 27, includes a gallery demonstration by
Stephanie Carnell on Nov. 14 at 2 p.m. Notecards featuring the work of Reed,
known as the etcher of the Dunes, will be available at the museum gift shop.
said she is setting up a Facebook page to help publicize the libraryís
programs and services.