Cleveland, Tenn., library board terms changing, bonuses coming

Cleveland, Tenn., library board terms changing, bonuses coming

May 27th, 2012 by Paul Leach in News

Tyson Randall watches Charles Randall and Riley Taylor play a video game Friday at the Cleveland/Bradley Public Library. Now that schools are out for summer vacation, the library begins its summer reading program with a June 9 kick-off event at 2 p.m. There are programs for everyone from birth to adults.

Photo by Randall Higgins /Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Officials with the Cleveland Bradley County Public Library want to balance innovation and experience, from how it engages the public to how it is governed.

Earlier this week, the library board addressed concerns about the managing body's structure and budgeting for staff and technology. Realigning service terms for board members was a key change, approved by the board in a 7-0 vote.

The term changes minimize the impact of turnover in any given year and offer a balance of experienced and new people, board Chairwoman Tara Brown said.

At a future date, Brown said, she would like to address changes to board bylaws, especially regarding a 12-year limit on board terms, with no option to serve later.

"We don't want to get in a situation where we [only] have new people and also get in a situation where we can't get anybody to serve," she said.

With the change, Anne McReynolds will end 24 years of library board membership this July.

The board said it would like to replace McReynolds, a city appointee to the body, with Phil Jacobs, a local attorney and library supporter.

In other business, the board also voted 7-0 to give one-time bonuses to library staff this year. Full-time employees would receive a total of $700 in bonuses this year, said Andrew Hunt, library director. The one-time bonus plan may include a $50 bonus for part-time employees, Hunt said.

The money to offer employees such a bonus would be available this year but probably not next year or the year after, Treasurer John Hagler said.

In regard to future budgets, Hunt said he wants the board to seriously consider adopting radio-frequency identification technology for managing library inventory.

RFID technology, which is used as part of mall security systems and "fast pass" credit card payment systems at automated gasoline pumps, would allow library staff to decrease time spent reshelving books and other work centered on the library's collection and increase time dealing with patrons and other duties, Hunt said.

"This technology helps us find ways to be streamlined and to be able to function in a more efficient way," he said.

The price for such a system has come down in recent years, according to Hunt, who said current ballpark figures for installing the necessary RFID equipment are around $44,000, as opposed to $76,000 a few years ago.

Library officials also said they expected significant funding would be allocated to buying electronic books and other downloadable digital material in the coming year because of their growing popularity.