Library Board Meeting 4.6.23

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

In a long, productive, and budget-heavy meeting, the Mountain Home Public Library board of trustees were able to discuss a variety of topics ranging from the long-awaited, new book drop to updates regarding the near-ready storywalk panels being installed in parks around Mountain Home.

After approving the previous meeting’s minutes, the board was updated by trustee Venable-Harjo on the status of the library’s new book drop. She explained that while the bulk of the book drop is completed, in order to maintain a warranty on the book drop, one aspect of the drop had to be completed within a facility. The facility as it stands is facing a delay on receiving certain materials, so the finishing touches of the book drop have not been able to be completed. However, trustee Venable-Harjo expressed optimism when discussing a completion time frame.

The library’s soon-to-arrive privacy telehealth pod was next on the docket; Director Shasta Hochstrasser explained that in light of the privacy pod arriving soon, she wished to attribute the pod with a name. She further explained that she felt it would be fitting if the privacy pod was donned with the name of a notable medical professional from the Mountain Home area. Trustee Venable-Harjo provided the board with the name Annis Wakelee Bledsoe; Dr. Bledsoe of Hammet was a well-known pediatrician in the area. Dr. Bledsoe passed away in April of 2011 after a battle with leukemia. The recommendation was widely regarded with positivity and other trustees were ready to move forward with the name designation so long as contact was made with family members of Dr. Bledsoe, and their approval is given.

Next, the trustees discussed funding new security cameras for the library to support and upgrade a quickly aging system that is not able to cover every angle of the library and in some instances is not clear enough to provide necessary information to investigators and library staff.

Although each of the trustees recognized the need for bolstering the existing cameras, they ultimately elected to postpone approving the funding of a new system until closer to the city’s budget hearing later this year.

This segued the trustees into budget discussion. In a very lengthy conversation and group examination, some topics, such as the grant line of the budget underwent further discussion. The group worked together to discuss potential changes to the budget that would bolster support for it during the upcoming city budget hearing. Expecting scrutiny, the trustees also discussed strategy for the hearing and how to best present the proposed library budget changes. Ultimately, the board elected to postpone the discussion for a special meeting to tentatively be held on the 13th of this month.

In her report, Director Hochstrasser spoke to the trustees about the story stroll project being installed in parks across Mountain Home. She also provided the board with an updated template for the story stroll signs that now include the logos of companies that recently provided donations for additional story stroll tiles. She included that most of the posts have been installed, and are just awaiting their tiles. A “fun walk” is planned once all the tiles are installed and the project is completed.

Director Hochstrasser then took an opportunity to provide the board with an update regarding Idaho House Bill 314. She noted that Governor Little’s veto of the bill was upheld in the statehouse. However, with cautious optimism she explained that legislation in this session and the next is likely to continue to target libraries. This was reflected in the library’s proposed budget line for legal defense and services for the upcoming fiscal year.

Lastly, Director Hochstrasser excitedly announced that the library, once again, was approved for a grant that provides the library with an intern during the summer season.

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