Library board looking to be infused with younger blood

Also, more male particiation sought on the board.

At the Sylvan Lake Library Board’s recent meeting, the members discussed recruitment of new members.

The Town’s demographics state the majority of people living in Sylvan Lake are around 35 years old. The Board members would like to see more people around that age sit on the board.

“A lot of us here are older – we don’t think the way the younger people do,” said board member Laurie Norris.

Board Chair Dwayne Stoesz mentioned he has often taken perspective board members, of the various boards he has sat on, out for lunch.

He says it gives an opportunity to be real and frank with perspective board members about commitments and responsibilities.

“I think we should look at actively recruiting. We aren’t often overflowing with applicants,” Stoesz said.

Library Director Caroline Vandriel said she would like to see more males on the board as well, as the majority of the board members are female. Currently the board has at least one vacant seat and new members will be appointed in the fall by Town Council.

The library staff have been a little overwhelmed recently, according to Vandriel. Recently a staff member retired which threw everything into a state of flux. Vandriel said it is mostly the fulltime staff, like those in marketing and communications, who have fallen the most behind in their work. This is because staff are filling holes and not able to focus on their own work as much.

“I really regret not hiring the student worker for this year,” said Vandriel.

While the staff at the library are overwhelmed, Vandriel says they are still working well.

In particular, Vandriel picked out recent programs hire Alecia Daniels as a “godsend”.

Due to the limitations of staff some programs – like the Summer Speaker Program – will be cancelled this year.

“I’m just really frustrated,” said Vandriel.

Members of the Library Board offered their assistance if Vandriel felt the need, which she said she was grateful for. The library will be looking at when it is busy, based on hours.

This is because the past couple months felt a little “empty” in the library. Vandriel will keep track of how busy the library is over the next little while, and shift staffing around as needed, based on the information gathered.

The board chose to sign a contract with Chase Paymentech to install debit machines in the library. Vandriel found Chase to be a better option after “shopping around” with other debit options.

The board also accepted Vandriel’s request to close the library, on an appropriate day of her choosing, for the installation of the machines. The day the library is closed will also include updates to the cash register and training for staff in the new procedures.

The board has requested official policy surrounding the freedom of free speech. The Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA) created a document stating the freedom to include posting in public spaces so long as the post is within the confines of the “safe space” libraries offer.

Board member and treasurer Kathy Inglis requested a policy in which the language was more clear.

“I’m looking for something that says the library can say no to something,” said Inglis – emphasizing the use of hate language and literature as unacceptable. The board agreed to have a procedure made up and a policy put into place regarding freedom of speech. Vandriel will write up a draft to bring to the board’s meeting in September.

The Beach Book Buddies program will continue throughout the summer. However, it will be based on the weather and volunteer availability, according to Vandriel.

“We found last year that the staff either didn’t want to take the books down to the lake or didn’t have time. So we will need to have it done based on volunteers,” said Vandriel.

The library is facing an ant infestation. Unfortunately the library is unable to place ant traps within the library, as it is a health hazard to children.

The board hopes to come to an agreement with the Town to provide help in ending the problem.

The library board will meet for its next meeting after the summer break on Sept. 13. They will meet at 6 p.m. to begin working through a risk management plan.