The Annual Meeting of the Friends of Soldiers Memorial Library will be held at the Arts Center at 8 Hancock Avenue and by conference call on Sunday, February 21, 2021, at 4:00 p.m.
All are welcome to attend, but only a total of 8 people may attend in person, since there is limited space in the Arts Center, which will be spaced for safety. First come, first served, up to a total of 8. If you wish to attend the meeting in person, be sure to contact them by email or phone call no later than Saturday, February 20. If you attend in person, please wear a face mask, and use the hand sanitizer that will be available. Be sure, also, to bring your cell phone!
They recommend that you stay at home for maximum safety. They have devised a way for all to participate from home: a conference call (not Zoom).
Whether at home or attending in person ALL will participate in the meeting by making a conference call. To attend, please call (518) 351-9618 at 4:05 p.m. and announce yourself.
Some of you know that the library and the arts center have undergone changes since last year at this time. Of course the pandemic has made them adjust how they meet, reduced their fund-raising efforts to very little, and eliminated their schedule of performances.
Although they also had to close the library for April through July in accordance with stay-at-home orders of our Governor, they have since been able to open the library for about half the time of their usual schedule. They have installed a safety barrier at the Library Director desk, set up sanitation stations at each entrance, added a new book-return drop box near the parking area, and created a tag board to limit numbers of people in the building. Since people are understandably reluctant to visit public places, the number of visitors has not been even close to straining their capacity to manage.
However, these necessary adjustments are not the only major changes at the Library. Since far longer than they can remember, the public library has been operated as a “quasi-municipal” organization. This means that some functions of operating the library were managed by the Hiram Town Office.
Last year, at the recommendation of the town's auditors, the municipal officers of the town asked that they legally separate the library organization from the town. They (boards of both the Soldiers Memorial Library and Friends of Soldiers Memorial Library, which oversees the Arts Center at 8 Hancock, the converted church next to the library) decided this was the right time to join together as a “library and arts center” nonprofit. This newly combined entity is now – as of January 1st – called the Hiram Cultural Center, and it will provide both library and arts center services to our town. It won't look any different, except that the arts center will, over time, be growing to provide more music and other arts programs for all.
The library will continue its regular hours and to manage its collection, offer authors' talks, host clubs, etc. In addition to their fund-raising efforts, the library will continue to rely upon the town for its critical annual appropriation that is provided by vote of our residents.
The town, as owner of the historic library building, will lease the building each year to the Hiram Cultural Center for $1. The town is responsible for maintaining the building, and the Center is responsible for managing the public library and the building contents. They have contracted with a payroll service and hired a new part-time staff to help as a Sanitation Manager. They believe all of this will work quite well. It's been a busy year for those involved in management of the library and the arts center!
The creation of this new, merged Hiram Cultural Center requires a larger Board of Directors than they've had – up to 12 members! They need and welcome anyone who has enthusiasm for the future of the library and arts center. Please consider volunteering yourself to be on the Board, or nominating someone who may want to serve to the benefit of our community. They would be happy to speak with anyone about what board membership entails.
For more information, or to request to attend the meeting, please call the library at (207) 625-4650. Staff or volunteers are present Wednesday - Thursday 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Saturday 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Membership Meeting Agenda:
1. Determine Quorum for the Membership Meeting (at least 7 members required)
2. Nomination of Board Members. The Hiram Cultural Center can have from 5 to 12 Board Members, all for 3 year terms. Because of the reorganization developed through all of the past year, they are starting with all of the board members being elected, regardless of whether they have previously been on the board. After the election, terms of 1, 2, or 3 years will be randomly assigned. The following persons have expressed willingness to be on the board:
Erin Barber (Secretary)
Sue Hamilton (Vice President)
Dan Hester (Treasurer and Building Manager*)
Ellie Stein (President)
Additional candidates for the board may be nominated at any time until nominations are closed. Anyone on this list may withdraw from being a candidate until nominations are closed. The parenthese indicate to officer position that each person has expressed willingness to serve. The proposed officer list has been updated since paper copies of this agenda were mailed. *The position of Building Manager does not exist unless the Board decides to create it.
3. Election of Board Members. If desired, elections can be conducted individually, but - if there is no objection - the election can be accomplished by statement of the slate of candidates and then the casting of one ballot by a member. Immediately after the election, determination of 1 year, 2 year, and 3 year terms will be determined by random drawing of names.
4. Financial Report. A brief financial report will be provided, listing the values currently in all accounts of the Hiram Cultural Center. A detailed financial report can be provided on request.
5. Soldiers Memorial Library rental agreement with the Town of Hiram will be briefly described. This was enabled in January for FoSML to continue to use the building as the public library.
6. Other. Most business of the meeting will be conducted by the Board, but items can be considered if provided for updating of this agenda no later than February 14.
7. Adjourn. The Board Meeting will convene immediately after this adjournment.
Board Meeting Agenda:
(Members other than Board Members may participate, but only Board members can vote.)
1. Determine quorum for the Board Meeting (at least 50% of Board Members).
2. Election of Officers. Depending upon the outcome of the election of the board members in the membership meeting, they should act upon the officer candidates. Any officer may be volunteered or nominated from the floor. The only officers enabled at this time are president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer.
3. Designation and Election of Other Officers. It has been suggested that the Building Manager officer should be designated. Dan Hester has offered to serve in that position. Other officers can be designated if that is desired.
4. Appointment of Committees. The work of updating the bylaws has suggested the following standing committees: Budget Committee, Programs and Services Committee, Building Maintenance and Technology Committee. These committees can be designated by the Board and appointments can be made. Other committees can be designated if that is desired.
5. Treasurer’s Report. A brief financial report was provided in the membership meeting. Fund-raising projects are very limited at this time. Discussion of fund-raising.
6. Annual Membership Campaign. There may be a proposed tri-fold hand-out to be considered. It will also help to plan for some volunteers to do addressing, writing notes, and helping with Thank-You notes.
7. Grant opportunities. At time of planning of this meeting a committee of the Hiram Cultural Center is planning for a grant application to the Onion Foundation. Dan has also been working for an application to the Small Business Administration for a Targeted EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan) Advance which is actually a grant. They will update on their progress.
8. Planning Future Work. These items are not for action at this time, but are for future work:
A. Management of Soldiers Memorial Library. An update of current working hours, open hours, staffing and volunteers will be provided. Future changes need to be considered, but the major limitation at this time is that the library budget remains uncertain until after decisions of the Hiram Annual Town meeting on March 6. Support your Library at the Annual Town Meeting.
B. Management of the Arts Center at 8 Hancock and the building. Uses and needs of the building will need to be planned.
C. 2021 Programming - Under the current pandemic conditions they may still need to delay having any events for the remainder of this year. Should they focus efforts on 2022? There has also been discussion of the possibility of having a Programs and Services Director to work at improving events attendance, to seek grants, and to enable a broader range of events.
9. Next Board Meeting? It would be appropriate for the Board to determine a regular, monthly meeting date. That may be determined now, or may be best determined in the next meeting.