June 6, 2023 Minutes

Present: Diane St. Jean, Roger Gingrich (chair), Ginna Schonwald (secretary), Rebecca Butcher (vice chair), Cynthia Hoisington (remotely), Jackie Cilley (guest), Liz Bolton (library director)

Not Present: Maureen Sawicki, Michelle Lemos, Beth Brockett, Kris Pavlik

Greeting: “Stories provide the context for data to be better understood.” David Hutchens podcast on Storytelling.

  1. Review and approval of the Foundation minutes of May 2, combined Trustee – Foundation meeting.

    Rebecca motioned for approval. Diane seconded.

  2. Roger introduced Jackie Cilley as a guest to discuss the best marketing strategies for a supportive vote in March 2024. Jackie lives in Barrington, has been a state Senator, a House Representative, and a candidate for NH governor. She graduated from UNH with a BA in psychology and an MBA from the Whittemore School of Business and Economics at UNH. She ran a business “Cilley and Associates” that provided information and market assistance to businesses. She taught marketing as an Adjunct Professor at UNH for 20+ years.Jackie:

    • The best marketing strategy starts with information gathering – what is the target audience thinking / what are we communicating.

    • We discussed the fact that during the BLF campaign to raise funds, donors were informed that if the library bond didn’t pass by the third attempt, they would be approached with the option to have their money returned or continue to keep it in a Foundation account.

    • Jackie noted that our best defined group of library supporters is made up of library card holders – currently approximately 3,800. How does the Foundation reach these core supporters? The library newsletter / BLF website / Foundation MailChimp list.

    History of BL Foundation was discussed:

    • Since 2017-18, the Foundation has aggressively worked on raising funds for a new library. Current Foundation funds are approximately $350,000 in cash with ~$50,000 of gifts in kind pledged and ~$100,000 more pledged by donors.
    • Review of our get out the vote effort in previous years when the bond was on the ballot. In 2019 we did a lot via social media and local town / school events. In 2020, there was an EDDM effort and door hangers printed for every home in Barrington. Teams of volunteers visited every home and brought these door hangers to each house in 12 Barrington districts. Despite this major effort, the proportion of the voters who supported the library actually went down from 2019 to 2020 – March 2020 recalled as the precipice of COVID panic / pandemic.
    • In 2021 community listening sessions were held to determine why the bond did not pass and how we might get it to pass in the future. We did 5 of these with 36 participants in total. The presentations were to clubs and other groups in Barrington, including the Advisory Budget Committee.
    • For our current effort: collaborate with constituencies:
      • Rec Center / Director to see how the two organizations can work together to promote common goals of a “community campus” to include the ECLC, Rec (with its future plans), playground, and Library. which will help promote the library’s goals as well as theirs.
      • Barrington Historical Society recently voted to donate $15K to the library and write a letter of support for our NEH grant proposal.
      • The town administrator and current select board have shown welcome support for the library project. The TA has provided the services of the Finance Director and the town’s Legal Counsel for the NEH grant at no charge.

    Jackie asked us to consider what our messaging has been in the past and whether there has been consistency in that messaging over the years. Our slogans for the library bond:

    • “Now is the time” – 2019;
    • “Building on the past, envisioning the future” – 2020;
    • “More than a building, more than books: Where community connects” – the current slogan.

    We discussed focusing on community and celebrating the community pride in Barrington that has been generated from the 300th anniversary. Jackie asked us to consider how we can create value from the intangibles of community pride, freedom (of learning), and other values that would unite people across their differences?

    Roger mentioned “Palaces for the People” a book written by Eric Klinenberg, which documents that libraries and community centers are important in building and maintaining social infrastructures that help support the health, wellness, and connectedness of the community. Within this dynamic is the dichotomy of cost (a very tangible item) versus value (a less tangible item). How to present “value” in a way that avoids academic or philosophical ideals needs further discussion.

  3. Storytelling ideas:

    • Follow up on “1000 Books Before Kindergarten” winners – Diane

      Ben story about reading 1000 Books before Kindergarten. Another Ben checked out eBooks to take with him to Lesotho, Africa on his way to join the Peace Corps. Jackie mentioned the Berlin town library as very important to her as a youngster.

      Wendy has contacted some of the “1000 books” alumni, and Diane has received two responses thus far – one of which was Ben’s parent. She will contact these children and ask them about their library experiences and their love of books. She will also ask them to think about the new library space; she could use pictures to convey what the library could look and ask the children how they hope to use the space?

      Other possible interviewees for story telling:

      • Senior Mahjong players
      • Book Club regulars
      • LEGO regulars

      We need a subcommittee to plan / organize / execute

  4. Follow-up on NEH grant (just posted on the NEH website: this is the last year for the grant. In the last 6 competitions 132 grants were submitted / 37 awards per year / 28% funding ratio)

    • Submitted, received, and validated on May 16
    • NOFO timing ~mid-December
    • Named positions for grant / building project:
      • Project Director: Susan Gaudiello
      • Primary Contact: Roger Gingrich (Authorized Organization Representative)
      • Finance Administrator: Amy Doherty (F.A. for Barrington)
      • Legal Counsel: The Mitchell Municipal Group, P.A., Concord, NH (L.C. for Barrington)
      • Building Committee (Project Team): Susan Gaudiello, Roger Gingrich, Liz Bolton, James Saccoccia, John Cafasso, Ed Gettis, Colin Williams
      • Fundraising Team: Roger Gingrich, (chair), Cindy Hoisington, Kris Pavlik, Heather Totty
    • We discussed sharing grant details with Barrington residents and agreed to hold off for now.
  5. Next trash pickup – June 24 @ 10AM – Volunteers needed
  6. Adjournment – next meeting July 11.

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