TO: SWFLN Board of Directors
SUBJECT: DIRECTOR’S REPORT
DATE: October 20, 2009
Where to begin?
First, I am excited to be here. I didn’t realize how much work there is to do. But that is
OK, since I’m here to work!
Second, I pledge to you that I will be candid and honest and share any and all
information – unless there is a particular moral or legal imperative not to do so. And I
appreciate your doing the same with me. Honest information is the coin of the realm for
I do not feel comfortable when people tell me things but ask me not to repeat them or to
quote them. Except in the rarest instances (when there is a moral or legal imperative) I
will not ask you to do so with information I share with you.
My first two-and-a-half weeks have been a whirlwind of activity – and of learning.
My out-of-the-office schedule so far has been:
Thursday, August 27 Meeting with MLC directors and Dale Patchett
Friday, August 28 Meeting with MLC directors and State Library
Tuesday, September 8 Meeting with President-Elect Sheldon Kaye
Monday, October 5 Meeting with President Kay Oistad
Tuesday, October 6 Drive to Tallahassee
Wednesday, October 7 New Director’s Meeting with State officials
Thursday, October 8 Public Library Director’s Meeting
Friday, October 9 Public Library Director’s Meeting
Meeting with Charlie Parker, Bill Conniff, and Dale
Patchett regarding State funding
Return drive from Tallahassee to Naples
Tuesday, October 13 Visit with Angie Patteson and staff at Charlotte
County Library System (Mid-County Regional and
Punta Gorda branches)
Wednesday, October 14 Visit with Margaret Mohundro and staff at Sanibel
Visit with Leroy Hommerding at Fort Myers Beach
Thursday, October 15 Meeting with Gerald Franz at Hodges University
Friday, October 16 Visit with Barbara Oeffner and staff at Willie Frank
Memorial Seminole Tribal Library in Big Cypress
Visit Collier County Public Library South County
Regional Library in preparation for Annual Meeting
Monday, October 19 Meeting with Carolynn Volz
I have had discussions with a number of member library directors and staff members –
in person and by phone. Not everything I have heard has been positive. In the next few
months I intend to address these issues and to report to you as I do.
I hope to visit all of the member libraries (with the possible exception of those in Monroe
County) by Thanksgiving – to learn as much as I can so SWFLN can serve its members
as well as possible. I hope to get to Monroe County before the end of the year.
Some of the issues we face:
SWFLN-FGCU Relationship and Memorandum of Agreement
o Internal communication
Staff: I believe each employee (JRV, Luly, and Lee) should know
where each of us is and what we are doing to contribute to the
benefit of SWFLN. Apparently that has not been the case in the
recent past. I hope from now on we will be able to communicate
better. SWFLN will succeed or fail only with a staff that is
empowered and works together as a team. One of my prime tasks
is to engender that spirit.
Board – Executive Director: All relevant information should be
shared by all parties. This is a key to mutual respect and good
managerial practice. As a way to keep staff involved and the Board
informed, I have invited Ms. Castro and Mr. LeBlanc to make short
reports (as part of the Director’s Report) at each meeting –
o External communication
Creation of attractive brochure for prospective members and
Continuing Education: CE seems to rank high on everyone’s “wish list.” But
there is less agreement regarding topics and how CE opportunities should be
publicized and delivered. The challenge of providing continuing education in this
current environment is an issue for all Florida’s MLCs. Everyone agrees it is a
priority, but there is a lot of disagreement regarding what and how it should be
o Face to face vs. online
o Topics: supervision, emerging technologies, doing more with less,
innovative services, computer skills
Future Funding for MLCs: This is a serious issue. The Governor’s current
2010-11 budget has no funding for MLCs. I have been in contact with the other
MLC directors regarding this issue. I have met on two separate occasions with
some of the MLC directors and lobbyist Dale Patchett. There is much work to do.
As happened last Spring, it appears we will have to storm Tallahassee again if
there is to be any hope of being funded.
Attracting New Members: I see as one of my tasks attracting new member
libraries. In order to do so, I may at the next meeting ask the Board to cut first-
year (only) dues in half to attract new members. That will give us a year to prove
our worth. If you know of any prospective members, please suggest them to me.
Board of Directors: Finally, I want to make something clear to the Board. I
worked for an elected Board of Trustees for twenty-five years. At times it was a
politically charged atmosphere. The library’s trustees and I didn’t always agree
but respected each other and valued candid, open, honest dialogue. I am
confident that will be the case here at SWFLN.
I have been on both sides of the Board – Executive Director equation. I have
served on numerous Boards – as an elected member of a Board of Education,
state and local library associations, youth centers, youth sports, service clubs,
etc. I know, value and respect what Boards can accomplish. Ultimately, I view
my job at SWFLN as working for you to the advantage of the member libraries. I
will seek your advice on substantive matters. I will seek your consent when
policy and/or good management practice call for it. All I ask in return is that you
bring your questions and concerns to my attention as soon as they arise.
As I have mentioned to a number of you recently, I accepted this position because I
value what SWFLN can provide to its member libraries. And library service has been an
abiding passion of mine since my youth.
I look forward to working with all of you, and with Luly and Lee to make SWFLN the best
it can be.