July 11, 2023 Minutes

Present: Roger Gingrich (chair), Rebecca Butcher (vice chair), Kris Pavlik (treasurer), Susan Gaudiello (Trustee chair) Beth Brockett, Cynthia Hoisington, Diane St. Jean, Maureen Sawicki, Liz Bolton (library director), (remotely) Ginna Schonwald (secretary).

  1. Greetings: from June 25, 2023, NYT Book Review by AO Scott, The Reading Crisis: “Just what is reading, anyway? Reading is, fundamentally, both a tool and a toy. It is essential to social progress, democratic citizenship, good government, and general enlightenment. It’s also the most fantastically, sublimely, prodigiously useless pastime ever invented. For most of history universal literacy was a contradiction in terms. The Latin word literatus designated a member of the learned elite. A general readership did not exist…the ability to read was not universal…learning to read was denied to many…”
  2. Review of minutes from June 6 Foundation meeting –  approved with minor correction
  3. Trustees & Building Committee updates – Susan Gaudiello 
    Trustees have been updating policies on challenges to library books and other materials. The library will be extending their hours to 8 PM on both Tuesdays and Wednesdays. 

    Liz is looking into the cost of sending out a newsletter via EDDM to all Barrington residents with updated information about the library and the building project. They would like to do this three times/year if funding allows. 

    Two meetings of the Building Committee have been held. The committee unanimously selected a site on Ramsdell Lane which is further west than the previous site. The new site will allow for more parking. The contract with SMP Architects has been reworked.

    Trustees are looking at ways to reduce the size of the proposed library. The reduction in the size of the library space would have to be dramatic to make a significant difference in the project cost.

    The Select Board has re-opened the possibility of purchasing the land behind Calef’s for the town. Roger noted that the NEH grant, which has already been submitted, had the current site location. This is the last year the NEH will be offering these construction project grants, at least in the current program.

    Discussion ensued regarding other town projects which might compete with the library project for funding. There are plenty of possibilities.
  4. Foundation-related issues from the Library Director – Liz Bolton

    The link for the Foundation website was included in the latest newsletter.
  5. Portals of communication with Barrington residents:
    • Presentations / public comments at Select Board meetings. A single spokesperson (The Trustee Chair) remains the most prudent choice. 
      Ensuring a consistent message is very important.  S. Gaudiello will bring a cost estimate for the proposed new library to the August Select Board meeting. 
    • BPL Newsletter – 1049 subscribers. Most subscribers sign up for the newsletter when they become library patrons. 
    • Library – Building Committee updates, e.g., minutes / design concepts & features are public and available in the BPL Director office; also sent to Conner MacIver who forwards them to SB.
    • Foundation Website traffic – Website traffic often happens in response to a MailChimp delivery which directs readers to specific, new information on the website.
    • Foundation MailChimp list – 483 subscribers / consistently >75% open rate
    • EDDMs / information packets / door-to-door canvasing / yard signs 
  6. Reinforcing the notion that COST and VALUE are 2 sides of the same coin 
    Discussion regarding how to think about this concept and use it to appeal to Barrington citizens in the library campaign. Emphasis on specific values may be helpful (examples: democracy, community). What is the benefit of a new library to the Barrington community, that is, what is the return on the investment? Consideration needs to be given to what will appeal to the “maybes”. How do we talk about the cost/value question while acknowledging that there are people in town who have very limited funds?

    Comparison with what is available in other towns might be motivating to some – what are we proud of in Barrington?

    Storytelling: Diane St. Jean – short videos of “1000 books before kindergarten” participants – 2 done.  Ginna volunteered to work with Diane on broadening the sphere of finding spokespeople/ambassadors for the library.

    Other groups to interview:
    • seniors looking for social connections via Mahjong
    • members of the book clubs
    • members of the Lego club
    • cribbage players
    • Resident “ambassadors for the library”  

      These will be posted on Foundation MailChimp / Website, possibly the BPL FB page. We will not post on Barrington FB pages.
  7. Fundraising strategy and timelines were briefly reviewed
  8. Next roadside trash pick-ups – August 26 & October 21
  9. Adjournment – Rebecca motioned to adjourn, and Roger seconded.

Leave a Reply