Board of Directors Meeting Minutes – January 15, 2019


January 15, 2019, 9:00 a.m.

Harold Washington Library Center

400 S. State Street

Lower Level, Multi-Purpose Room

  1. Welcome Executive Director of the Chicago Public Library Foundation - Brenda Langstraat 
  2. Approval of minutes for the December 18, 2018 meeting (action required)
  3. Election of Officers (action required)
  4. Schedule of Requisitions, Contracts and Licenses (info only)
  5. Kelly Fund Update (info only)
  6. Year-End Report and 2020-2023 Chicago Public Library Strategic Plan (info only)
  7. CPL Capital Projects and Facilities Report (info only)
  8. Other Business
  9. Public Comment

Next Board meeting:

April 16, 2019, 9:00 a.m.

Whitney Young Branch

7901 S. King Drive


Open Session Minutes

Physically Present: Christopher Valenti, Lynn Lockwood, Jodi Block, Barbara Bowman, Patricia Gaytan Perez

Dominique Jordan Turner, Alexi Giannoulias, Ivy Walker

Present by Means of Video or Audio Conference: None

Absent: Linda Johnson Rice


Welcome Executive Director of the Chicago Public Library Foundation – Brenda Langstraat (info only)

Commissioner Bannon introduced Brenda Langstraat as the new Executive Director of Chicago Public Library Foundation. Her personal and professional values align with the Chicago Public Library's belief in "the freedom to read, to learn, to discover." Brenda's career is driven by the belief that creating empowered communities of learners will transform lives and support the advancement of Chicago's neighborhoods. 

Brenda joins CPLF after seven years of serving as CEO of Working in the Schools (WITS). WITS provides holistic literacy support for students in 90 Chicago Public Schools by creating positive and collaborative communities of teachers, volunteers, principals, and investors. Brenda led the organization's growth from a budget of $710,000 to $2 million and spearheaded the integration of Boundless Readers, another literacy organization, into WITS. Prior to WITS, Brenda served as Executive Director of Parkways Foundation and started her career as a development professional at the Chicago Humanities Festival where she developed major giving programs, special events and the annual gala.

Approval of minutes (action required)

The Board voted (8-0) to approve the minutes for the December 18, 2018 meeting.

Election of Officers (action required)

Directors Lockwood and Block served on the Nominating Committee for the election of officers. For 2019, they proposed the following slate of officers to represent the Chicago Public Library Board of Directors:

  • President – Linda Johnson Rice
  • Vice President – Christopher P Valenti
  • Secretary – Lynn Lockwood

The Board voted (8-0) to approve the 2019 slate of officers for the Chicago Public Library Board of Directors.

Schedule of Requisitions, Contracts and Licenses (info only)

Baronica Roberson, Deputy Commissioner of Administration and Finance, presented the quarterly report on contacts and purchases made for magazines, books, databases, periodicals and articles of educational and instructional nature. For this quarter (October 1 – December 31, 2018) a total of 3051 invoices were paid totaling $2,665,906.12 to various vendors. 

Kelly Fund Update

Tim Schlindwein, CPL’s fund manager Schlindwein Associates, presented an overview of the Kelly Fund account. The account was opened in March 1997 with the intent to provide a dependable source of income for funding current and future Chicago Public Library programs. Approved by the Chicago Public Library Board of Directors, the investment policy and guidelines are followed and monitored to maintain security of the Fund’s assets through investment in a diversified portfolio of quality securities and other assets to ensure a total rate of return necessary to preserve and enhance in real terms the principal of the Fund. At this time, the portfolio profile totals $1,474,468 and includes:

  • Cash and Equivalents – $178,301
  • Fixed-Income - $503,455
  • Equity – $700,016
  • Alternative Investments – $92,696

Rebalancing toward year-end positioned the portfolio for the expected environment ahead of slower economic growth, higher market price volatility and continuing policy uncertainties. Adequate reserves are available to meet program needs in the year ahead. At this time, no changes in Investment Policy or Guidelines were recommended.

Year-End Report and 2020-2023 Chicago Public Library Strategic Plan (info only)

Mary Ellen Messner, First Deputy Commissioner, presented CPL’s Year-End Report and gave an update on the Library’s strategic plan. CPL’s current strategic plan represented a successful period of growth and achievement, but that plan is sunsetting at the end of 2019. Creation of our strategy final report highlights CPL’s transformation 2011-2019. We are preparing the next strategic plan that will guide CPL from 2020-2023 in alignment with the vision set by the new mayoral administration. CPL will approach the strategy development process in 2 Phases. Phase 1 (Jan-April), will capture CPL’s successes and engage stakeholders across CPL and beyond to hear diverse perspectives and prepare for the mayoral transition. During Phase 2 (May-Oct), CPL will establish key priorities for 2020-2023 with identified strategies and target outcomes, engaging stakeholders to get insight on future direction which will lead to the creation of a formal document for mayoral and CPL board approval. CPL’s senior team will guide the process along with consultants from InStride Advisors. We will continue to update the Board as we move through the process. 

CPL Capital Projects and Facilities Report (info only)

Andrea Telli, Deputy Commissioner of Neighborhood Services presented the following CPL capital projects:

Now Open

Whitney Young – Project Scope: renovation and addition to existing library. Milestones and current activity: project is 100% complete; CPL celebrated ribbon cutting ceremony alongside MRE and other city representatives on January 10th; branch houses newly renovated spaces including a YOUmedia space for teens, MakerLab, Children’s area, meeting room and commuters.

Active Projects

West Loop Branch - Developer: Sterling Bay, proposed 17,000 sq. foot library in an existing office building, Design architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Milestones and current activity: interior construction is complete; interior and exterior graphics are complete; exterior metal façade installation is nearing completion with steel portal and first floor window replacement to follow; Library move-in and commissioning is nearing completion; branch is preparing for ribbon cutting ceremony calendared for January 17th.

Independence Branch - Developer: Evergreen Real Estate Group, new construction 16,000 square foot public library building in a planned development with 44 senior housing units, Design Architect: John Ronan. Milestones and current activity: building is nearing completion; opening preparations by the staff began December 26; final furniture delivery will be January 16th; the branch is currently scheduled to open the fourth week of January.

Little Italy (previously named Roosevelt) - Developer: Related Midwest, new construction 16,000 square foot branch library in a planned development with 73 multi-family housing units, Design Architect: Skidmore Owings & Merrill. Milestone and current activity: building is nearing completion; staff has been in the building preparing to open since December 26; final furniture delivery will be January 16; the branch is currently scheduled to open the fourth week of January.

Northtown Branch - Developer: Evergreen Real Estate Group, new construction 16,000 square foot public library building in a planned development with 44 senior housing units, Design Architect: Perkins + Will. Milestones and current activity: building is currently 70-75% complete with the curtain wall, roofing, framing, and HVAC in progress; the opening day collection has been scheduled for delivery on January 28, with the bulk of furniture delivery occurring on February 12; branch staff have nearly completed their move-out process at the existing branch; staff are expected to begin opening preparations at the new location on February 1 for a late February opening.

Legler Regional Library - Project: re-establishment of Legler Branch to regional library status. Scope: TBD, with Phase 1 the build out of a Computer Lab on the second floor, basement level community room, and upgrades to power and data, among other possible improvements; build-out of a computer lab, relocation of the community room and other upgrades. Design Architect: CPL in conjunction with the Public Building Commission; Project Management: PBC.

Harold Washington Library Center – CPL will be working on the relocation and redevelopment of a number of service areas including Circulation, Computer Commons, Newspapers & General Periodicals, Assistive Services, and Materials Movement in the coming months. Milestones and Current activity: relocation of Central Library Services Team to 4th floor is complete.

2FM’s CARE program – Select CPL locations will be undergoing 2FM’s CARE program: “Clean and Repair Everything.” These projects include in depth seasonal and deferred maintenance, carpet replacement or cleaning, paint and a general refresh of the facility on the part of CPL and 2FM staff. Projects will require short term closures of 4 to 6 weeks and will take place between September 2018 and January 2019. Milestones and Current Activity: West Belmont branch reopened on January 14; Uptown branch reopened January 14.; Austin branch closed January 2 for front door/window replacement and entry vestibule lighting installation, scheduled to reopen January 22.

Other Projects

Obama Presidential Center Branch – (No change) Project Scope: proposed 5,000 sq. foot branch library on the Obama Presidential Center campus; Design architects are Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. Milestones and Current Activity: project is in design development and regular meetings are now being held between the OPC staff and CPL.

Altgeld - (No Changes) CHA project management: Site to combine a CPL library branch with an early childhood center, Design Architect: Koo & Associates. Milestones and Current Activity: Site prep-work continues; geothermal wells have been installed; the furniture plan has been finalized; CHA continues to work with the New Market Tax Credit consultant on securing funding for the library portion of the project; project is scheduled to be complete in late 2019.

Merlo – (No Changes) Project Scope: Full gut renovation with addition of Early Learning and Teen spaces. Milestones and current activity: weekly design meetings continue with the PBC and architects; 60% construction documents have been released and survey, environmental reno/demo and geotech services are underway; the branch will close to the public on February 27, 2019 with construction to begin on April. 4; project completion anticipated in early 2020.

South Shore – (No Changes) Project Scope: Full renovation with addition of early learning and teen spaces; project scope includes envelope repairs incorporating roof, windows and doors, repairs to elevator, interior doors, replacement of interior stair case, upgraded circulation desk, new lighting, flooring and paint throughout. Milestones and Current activity: designs are in progress with CPL and 2FM; the library is currently scheduled to close January 26 and we are working with Alderman Mitchell on scheduling a community meeting; construction will begin in late February and will last approximately 8 months; the branch is scheduled to reopen in late 2019.

Jefferson Park – Project Scope: Scope is currently in development but includes refresh and possible reconfiguration of public areas, upgraded circulation desk, installation of additional power and data, paint and flooring. Milestones and current activity: CPL and 2FM are finalizing designs; CPL and 2FM presented information about the project at a community meeting held at the branch and hosted by Alderman Arena on January 10; construction will begin in late February and will last approximately 6-8 months; the branch is scheduled to reopen in late 2019.

Douglass – Project Scope to Include: exterior masonry repairs and new energy efficient roof; build-outs of an Early Learning Play Space and teen area; new flooring and paint throughout; new Circulation Desk and installation of additional power and data; upgrades to community room and staff work areas. Milestones & current activity: CPL is working on a finishes and furniture plan for the library; abatement is complete and interior demolition and construction has begun; construction is expected to last 6-8 months with the branch scheduled to reopen in late 2019.


Other Business


Public Comment

The Board addressed comments from representatives of the Friends of Woodson about their upcoming newsletter; a film in the works about Harold Washington being created by 99 Watts Production Company; representatives from Black Underground Recycling which provides programs in the Englewood community.

Next Board Meeting

The next board meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 16, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. at the Whitney Young Branch located at 7901 S. King Drive.


Chicago Public Library Foundation Report

Brenda Langstraat provided an update on behalf of the Board and staff of the Chicago Public Library Foundation.

We are working alongside CPL to ensure that there is a three-year strategic fundraising plan that aligns with CPL’s plan for broaden/deepened impact of programs. This plan will give the Library Foundation the benchmarking, tools, and messaging platform to expand its donor base and to secure multi-year donations/sponsorship.

Funding Highlights for Q1 2019:

  • In late 2018, the James and Madeleine McMullan Family Foundation gave a major grant support signature partnership programs at the Library: YOUmedia, Summer Learning Challenge, CyberNavigators, and Teacher in the Library. Since 2013, the McMullan Family Foundation, through the leadership and direction of Carlette McMullan, has invested more than $1.1 million into these programs.
  • Gifts, grants, and pledges to the Library Foundation since January 1 total nearly $1 million. This includes leadership gifts from Foundation Board members; securing support from longtime corporate and foundation partners; and new donations from the corporate sector. The Sandburg Society solicitation will launch at the end of April (donors $1,000+).
  • Night in the Stacks event in April raised $170,000. This annual event is hosted by the Library Foundation’s Associate Board and introduces 300+ rising Chicago leaders mission of the Library. The event highlighted the Maker Lab, which included an interactive game created by a Lab mentor. Feedback from the event was positive, giving a solid platform for continued growth.
  • National Library Week (April 7-13) raised awareness and support through email and social media. We generated 100 new leads that we’ll email for our Annual Giving Welcome Series, 100 new subscribers for BOOKMARK, our monthly newsletter, 357% increase in reach and 87% increase engagement, and 360 additional social media followers.

Upcoming Events

  • The annual Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner will be held on Thursday, October 10, 2019 at the UIC Forum. This year’s honorees will be announced tomorrow and visibility generated will be leveraged to attract donors and to highlight the impact of the CPL and Library Foundation partnership. This year’s dinner will be chaired by Jenny Friedes and will be produced by Donna LaPietra.
  • On April 24, the Library Foundation will partner with the Museum of Science and Industry to host a breakfast event about legacy and planned giving. Liz McChesney of CPL and Bryan Wunar of MSI will highlight their collaboration for the Summer Learning Challenge. A panel conversation with philanthropists—John Canning, Barb Malott Kizziah, and Walter Massey—will be moderated by Jason Baxendale, Chief Development officer at the Chicago Community Trust.