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Sistersville Public Library holds board meeting

By Staff | Nov 6, 2013

“Since our last meeting, there have been five different days that our doors have been left unlocked,” said Library Director Heather Weekley during her report at the Oct. 28 Sistersville Public Library Board meeting.

“That has to be somebody other than the city,” said Mayor Ann Doig. “I’m getting a little annoyed with this. Every time the door is left open, the innuendo is left to the city. Our keys to the library are locked up and secure, and nobody can get them without two people being aware. They have not gone out since we brought the sealed envelope to you and opened it in front of you, after your doors had been opened prior to that.”

“I’m just reporting that our doors have been left unlocked,” said Weekley.

The separate instances were listed as follows: Sept. 4, basement door to outside open; Sept. 9, inside side door open; Sept. 10, front door unlocked; Oct. 5, front door unlocked, blind up, basket moved, half of mail on desk; Oct. 15, (Weekley) was told that library lights were on, blind was up and people were inside while all three employees were in Ripley at a band competition. According to Weekley, cleaning lady Dottie Perine confirmed that she was not inside during the last-mentioned instance.

Librarians later noted that the city previously had keys to the side door and multipurpose room to access the furnace; they said that the new set of keys the city demanded now gives it access to each room, including the room where rare books are kept.

The second page of the Librarian’s Report was a letter from Executive Secretary Karen Goff of the W.Va. Library Commission. It regarded the library’s recent loss of funding, reportedly due to the fact that the city did not provide the library the correct paperwork to show the state how much money the city spent on the library. Without that information, the state cannot reimburse funding.

“I handed out a paper at our last meeting in July and stressed the importance of the information for our annual report,” said Weekley. “Then the lawyer sent a report (Freedom of Information Act Request), and this was all well before the last city council meeting when you (Mayor Doig) stated that you knew nothing about it. All we need is a simple figure of how much was spent on the library from July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013. I don’t understand why we can’t get that.”

“We left one (an expense report) here for you,” said Doig. “The library was closed when I came by that day. I put it in the (mail/return book) slot.”

“That was from you?” asked Library Board Co-President Beverly Henderson. “I had no idea what it was. It wasn’t clear to me. I was expecting a list of expenditures. It doesn’t have totals.”

It was noted that this list of expenditures was put in the slot after hours a couple weeks prior to the Oct. 28 board meeting. Doig explained that the city had to wait for a few of the monetary items they did not yet have.

“It’s a little bit misleading,” said Henderson of the figures. “I didn’t think it was legitimate.”

Doig said that Recorder Julie Schleier could explain it to her.

“When somebody gives me something like that, I don’t even know what I can rely on,” said Henderson. “I’m not going to turn it into the state if I don’t know it’s a reliable report.”

She said the amount did not add up to the amount of the library levy and she wasn’t sure that she had the entire list of expenditures. She and others present noted that the amount spent on the library was less than the levy intended for library use.

“Can you get the money back?” asked Councilman Bill Rice of the lost funding. Rice was recently appointed to the library committee.

Susan Reilly, director of Sistersville Public Library’s Service Center, said they could get the money back in January at earliest.

Doig said that since the new system of monthly reports was installed, the library could obtain the city’s financial reports of the last month at the beginning of each month.

“I don’t think they understood exactly what you were looking for,” said Councilman Bill Schleier, who serves on the library committee. “I hope you understand that she (his wife Recorder Julie Schleier) walked into the job of recorder, after they abandoned their position, with no help at all. She’s been playing catchup now for the past 18 months. As for your request, I’m sure if she understood everything, she would have complied.”

It was noted that the library had no problem receiving the correct information from the city last year, during which time Schleier was recorder. Library affiliates stated that the city could have called with any questions they had.

“Thursday, Ann came in and requested the library return all materials, books, documents, and maps given to the library in the last few years,” said Weekley. “She said she wanted it all by 11 a.m. on Friday and that Diana Mace had brought the items here. I called her (Mace), and she said the only thing she ever brought here was the stuff we needed for our end of the year report. I don’t know what exactly Ann is referring to.”

“Do you have a list, Ann?” asked Henderson of the materials, explaining that any items coming to the library are property of the library unless on a loan program. “We have to know what it is you’re looking for and that it belongs to the City of Sistersville.”

“All I know is that I was told that the library was given books about the history of Sistersville,” said Doig.

“Do you know what you want?” asked Councilman Rice.

“It was supposed to be history of the City of Sistersville,” said Doig, noting that the city was no longer in contact with former City Recorder Mace.

“Who told you to come and get it?” asked Rice.

“I was talking to other council members about it,” said Doig. “Diana never asked for permission to give it to anybody, but I was specifically told that she did.”

Librarian Sabrina Kyle said that the city had not given them historical materials since she began five years ago. When others questioned what the indicated materials might be, Doig said she would have to do further research.

When Henderson questioned why the library did not have a copy of the city’s charter and ordinances, Doig said she could drop off a copy of the 1991 ordinance book. As of this writing, the library has still not received a copy of the ordinance book.

Also under her report, Library Director Heather Weekley announced that: Barb Slider of Usborne Books expressed interest in doing a fund raiser for the library; Wells Inn owner Charles Winslow offered to caulk and paint the exterior of the building for free, a measure which Doig said was approved by the city; a local author expressed interest in doing a book reading and signing, with half of all proceeds going to the library; the Women’s Club donated money for the purchase of a new copier; the library will be closed Friday, Nov. 22, for their annual mandatory meeting in Moundsville; and instead of having story hour in the fall, they are planning a longer story hour in the spring.

As for cleaning supplies for the library, Weekley said that the city-paid cleaning woman was told she could no longer purchase supplies to clean the library.

“I find it hard to believe that we can’t buy toilet paper and cleaning supplies for our library,” said Councilman Rice.

He brought up the answer he received at the Sept. 9 Sistersville Council Meeting, in which Mayor Doig said the library was using enough supplies to clean an army barracks.

“I called Ann myself and asked why they were no longer supplying toilet paper and paper towels, and she said they don’t have to do it,” said Librarian Kyle.

According to Kyle, the city has been paying for cleaning supplies for the library since she began working there five years ago. To her knowledge, it has always paid for cleaning supplies.

“I want us to use the (library) levy money for what it was intended,” said Henderson. “To maintain this building, provide custodial services, pay the insurance, and charge any of the city personnel to that fund if they work on the building.”

When she asked where the unspent levy money went, Councilman Rice said that money was returned to the general fund.

“That’s not right,” said Henderson. “The tax payers vote on the levy with an assumption that a certain amount is going to each of these entities.”

Upon reviewing the list of expenditures, library affiliates later noted that it did not appear as if the city used all of the levy money for the last fiscal year.

City Commissioner Daniel Grimes was present to discuss a list of repairs the library needs, some of which are necessary to comply with insurance policies. Since the meeting, the librarians reported that city workers have: placed a temporary fix on the roof, cleaned gutters, trimmed part of an overhanging tree, and put up exit signs. Library affiliates expressed appreciation for the work done.

Also discussed at the meeting was the status of library bank accounts and the possibility of insurance coverage for the library, aside from the coverage the city already has on it. The treasurer’s report and the minutes of the May 20 Sistersville Public Library Board meeting were approved.

Henderson made a comment about the treasurer’s report. “It looks like a lot of money,” she said. “I can tell you for a library like this, it’s not very much money. That amount would only operate the library for about two years, if that.”

She indicated that much of the funding was designated toward specific causes and not at their immediate disposal.

“There are stipulations attached to restricted donor funds,” she said.