Board of Directors Meeting Minutes – January 26, 2021

AGENDA

January 26, 2021, 9:00 a.m.

Virtual Meeting

  1. Approval of minutes for the Special Board Meeting held on December 21, 2020 meeting (action required)
  2. Election of Officers (action required)
  3. Schedule of Requisitions, Contracts and Licenses (info only)
  4. 2021 CPL Budget (info only)
  5. Health and Safety Commitment (info only)
  6. CPL Capital Projects and Facilities Report (info only) 
  7. Commissioner’s Report (info only)
    • Programming Update
    • Black History Month
    • CPL @ Home
    • Together We Heal Week
    • Strategy
    • Transition to New Commissioner
    • Promotions and Retirements
  8. Chicago Public Library Foundation Report (info only)
  9. Other Business
  10. Public Comment

Next Board meeting:

May 18, 2021, 9:00 a.m.

Virtual Meeting

 

Open Session Minutes

Board Members in Attendance

Physically Present: None

Present by Means of Video or Audio Conference: Linda Johnson Rice, Christopher Valenti, Lynn Lockwood, Jodi Block, Barbara Bowman, Alexi Giannoulias, Ivy Walker, Dominique Jordan Turner, Patricia Gaytan Perez

Absent: None

Approval of minutes for the Special Board Meeting held on December 21, 2020 meeting (action required)

The Board voted (8-0) to approve the minutes for the Special Board of Directors meeting held on December 21, 2020 meeting confirming Chris Brown as CPL’s new Commissioner.

Election of Officers (action required)

Directors Jodi Block and Lynn Lockwood were selected to serve on the nominating committee for the 2021 Election of Officers for the CPL Board of Directors. Jodi Block represented the nominating committee and proposed the following slate for 2021:

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

As there were no objections to the proposed slate, the board voted (8-0) to approve the 2021 Officers for the CPL Board of Directors.

Schedule of Requisitions, Contracts and Licenses (info only) 

Baronica Roberson, Deputy Commissioner of Administration and Finance, presented the quarterly report on contracts and purchases made for magazines, books, databases, periodicals and articles of educational and instructional nature. For this quarter (November 1, 2020 – January 15, 2021), invoices totaling $2,474,962.66 were paid to various vendors. Aside from a slight increase in the amount of electronic resources purchased, there were no anomalies with the invoices paid this quarter.

2021 CPL Budget (info only)

Baronica Roberson, Deputy Commissioner of Administration and Finance informed the Board that CPL’s 2021 budget had been approved by City Council in November 2020. At the time of the board’s previous meeting in November, the budget had not yet passed. CPL also worked with the Chicago Public Library Foundation to finalize their budget as well. We are moving into 2021 with both budgets operationalized, and are beginning to spend and develop programming. The total combined funding is $158,185,210.

Health and Safety Commitment (info only)

Mary Ellen Messner, Acting Commissioner, provided an update on CPL’s efforts to protect staff and patrons during the COVID pandemic. CPL continues to prioritize health and safety commitments for patrons and staff. While the City has moved to tier 1 mitigation, and the library is remains steady in terms of service delivery with capacity limits remaining at 25%. We will work with the Mayor’s office when it is deemed safe to increase capacity limits, in addition to, reintroducing programs, having large gatherings and utilizing meeting rooms and rental spaces. In the meantime, capacity limits remain at 25% until further notice.

The department of AIS and OEMC worked with CPL to add a testing site outside of the Chinatown library. It is not certain if other testing sites will be placed outside of other library locations. Also, in partnership with the CDC and OEMC, a vaccination operation hub for the City has been setup in HWLC.

CPL Capital Projects and Facilities Report (info only)

Maggie Clemons, Deputy Commissioner of Library Operations and Patron Experience (LOPE) highlighted CPL’s current capital projects.

Manning - we are awaiting delivery of furniture to the branch which will arrive next week; branch opening celebration will be scheduled in the coming months.

Obama Presidential Center Branch (no changes) – Design by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects; project managed by OPC. Proposed scope includes 5,000 sq. ft. branch library on the Obama Presidential Center campus. Project is still in design development, CPL is reviewing plans with the architect; expected completion TBD.

Altgeld – NOW OPEN: The Altgeld branch opened in November. The new 12,150 square foot building replaced the old Altgeld Branch Library within the Altgeld Gardens Housing complex. Scope included buildout of a combined CPL library branch with an early childhood center being offered through CHA. The branch was designed by Koo & Associates; project managed by CHA.

Legler Regional Library – NOW OPEN: The Legler branch reopened in December. The Kerry James Marshall artwork has been reinstalled on the 2nd floor as well as a floating sculpture over the circulation desk. Scope incorporated re-establishment of the Legler branch to regional library status, with renovations including the build-out of a computer lab on the second floor, upgrades to power and data, and relocation of the community room to the basement to name a few. A grand reopening event with the new Commissioner and Mayor will be scheduled in the coming months.

2FM’s CARE Program – Select CPL locations have been undergoing 2FM’s CARE program “Clean and Repair Everything” which provides 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 have required branches to be closed short term for 3 to 4 weeks. Scottsdale, King, Pullman, Logan Square and South Chicago have recently completed the CARE Program; Hall and Bezazian are next up; and Wrightwood-Ashburn will complete the list of branches for 2020. We are currently working with AIS to finalize the list of branches that will undergo the CARE Program in 2021.

Commissioner’s Report (info only)

Acting Commissioner Messner provided the commissioner’s report and highlighted the following:

  • CPL locations have been seeing nearly 300,000 patrons per month in branches, as well as, increased usage of our eBooks and electronic resources.
  • Our grab and go kits have become popular over the last few months as they offer hands-on learning activities. During the summer we distributed over 100,000 kits and continued the program into the fall as children continued to attend school remotely.
  • CPL also launched the Second Saturday program series, which celebrates music, science, art, engineering and play with guest speakers and hands on activities. Focused on STEAM, the program was hosted virtually, but is normally held in person
  • Operation warm was held at 8 library locations branches, the program provided books and coats to families in need.
  • CPL will launch the Speak on It series in February that will allow teens an opportunity to connect with other teens and feature interviews with creative arts professionals. The Radical Fit program is ongoing and will continue through May, offering craft projects for teens as well.
  • The Our City Is A Garden mural is also on display at HWLC. The mural is one of three created over the course of the Calling for Change project led by professional artists Dorian Sylvain and Jeff Phillips, with guidance from Chicago Public Library staff, in collaboration with fifteen young artists who created this important work of art during the summer of 2020.
  • This year CPL celebrates the 20th anniversary of the One Book, One Chicago program. In addition to our 2021 OBOC season, throughout the year we will highlight and share some of our favorite memories of past OBOC seasons.
  • In celebration of Black history month in February, CPL will explore the topic of black hair in connection with the national theme “The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity.” CPL will explore this theme through the topic of Black hair.
  • CPL launched the CPL @ Home initiative to encourage patrons to take advantage of our online resources and slow the spread of COVID 19. While braches still remain open, online access is also available to get an online library card, live homework help, place holds on books, and more from the comfort of your home.
  • In December, Mayor Lightfoot and the Mayor’s Office of Equity and Racial Justice launched the “Together We Heal” campaign aimed at building racial healing across Chicago. The goal of the initiative is to empower all Chicagoans to engage in activities fostering connection, restoration and learning at this time of racial reckoning for both the city and the nation. Here at CPL, the Senior Team participated in a facilitated discussion led by Sylvia Ewing with a focus on the conversation between NPR’s Scott Simon and Caste author Isabel Wilkerson.
  • CPLs strategy playbook is in the process of being printed and distributed by March 31, 2021.
  • We are excited to announce that CPL’s new Commissioner, Chris Brown, will officially begin in his new role on February 1st. CPL’s Executive Teams has planned a variety of onboarding activities for Mr. Brown as he transitions into his new role.
  • Stacie Williams joined CPL in December as the new Division Chief for Archives and Special Collections, a new division of the Department of Technology, Content and Innovation.
  • And, congratulations to our recent retiree, Annie Coleman, who dedicated 26 years of service to the Library.

Chicago Public Library Foundation Report (info only)

Brenda Langstraat, President of the Chicago Public Library Foundation, provided the Foundation report on behalf of the staff and Board of the Chicago Public Library Foundation, highlighting the following:

  • Contributions to date total 1,962 gifts, with 41 gifts of $25,000 or more
  • CPLF has raised over $3.5M in total gifts and pledges and welcomed 545 new donors
  • In addition to major investments from many generous partners
  • The Library Foundation’s annual Awards event was held virtually on December 9, 2020 engaging more than 2,100 participants and raising over $1.3M
  • During National Library Week, April 5th, the CPLF Associate Board will host a new virtual event, The Read-A-Thon, aimed at engaging readers of all ages across the country.

Public Comment

None

Next Board Meeting

The next board meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. Meeting will be held virtually.

 

Commissioner’s Report

Programming Updates

Children, Youth and Families

Second Saturday Program Series

The Second Saturday series celebrates music, science, art, engineering, and play with special guests and library staff. The photo in the accompanying power point, is from a music program with special performer Little Miss Ann, who did a countdown to noon on New Year's Eve, joined by families and library staff.

Operation Warm

CPL participated in Operation Warm, which distributed new coats to patrons ages 3-13 at eight branches. Coats were distributed using a contactless pickup model to maintain appropriate distancing. The children's librarian at Chicago Lawn reported that one of her patrons hesitated in removing the tag from his new coat, as it was the first new coat he'd ever received and he wanted everyone to know that it was brand new.

Grab and Go Kits

As CPL has limited its in-person programming, we have pivoted to distributing grab-and-go kits to give children and families. During a time when so many of our children are otherwise spending their school days behind screens, these kids provide opportunities to engage in hands-on learning activities, with all the materials and instructions provided, this summer, CPL distributed over 100,000 kits and we have continued with this successful offering into the fall. The photos, in the accompanying power point, submitted by families who used grab and go kits available at all library branches to do STEAM-themed activities, including cup launchers.

Teen Services/YOUmedia

Speak On It

A new Speak On It series will launch in February that will feature interviews with creative arts professionals who will talk about their craft and their own journey related to gender-expansive identity. The series launches on February 23 with a conversation featuring Sky Cubacub, a non-binary queer and disabled Filipinx human and founder of Rebirth Garments. Sky is our lead program partner for Radical Fit. 

Radical Fit

Radical Fit is CPL YOUmedia’s eight-month program in partnership with Sky Cubacub of Rebirth Garments will feature fashion-making programs emphasizing gender identity and equity. Virtual programs will share tutorials by amateur and expert designers on a range of projects, including "no sew" making to advanced creations such as jewelry and chainmail. Radical Fit programming will continue through May, with sewing kits distributed for Grab and Go kits in February from all branches. 

Our City Is a Garden

As a response to the civil unrest that rocked Chicago and other cities across the United States throughout June and the summer of 2020, student artists from the Chicago Public Library YOUmedia program worked with professional artists to beautify the plywood boards that were protecting BMO Harris Bank’s downtown office. Exercising their skills in photography, drawing, painting, and collage, the student artists transformed the boards into an expression of hope and unity, named Our City Is A Garden.

Our City Is A Garden is a derivative of the Chicago city motto Urbs in Horto (City in a Garden). In a contemporary context, the mural compels us to acknowledge how far we have come and to consider the ways that we must continue to grow. 

In January of 2021, the mural found a permanent home at the historic Harold Washington Library Center, located in the Chicago Loop. The project was led by professional artists Dorian Sylvain and Jeff Phillips and with guidance from Chicago Public Library staff, and fifteen young artists collaborated to create this important work of art.

Student artists represented the following schools:  

  • Benito Juarez Community Academy
  • Disney II High School 
  • Global Citizenship Experience Lab School
  • Holy Trinity High School
  • Jones College Prep
  • Lane Tech College Prep High School
  • Lindblom Math and Science Academy
  • North Lawndale College Prep 
  • The Chicago High School for the Arts 
  • Walter Payton College Prep 
  • Whitney Young Magnet High School 

Adults

Virtual Author Event

On Thurs, Jan 21st, Author Larry Tye returned to Chicago Public Library to discuss his new book, “Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy.” In the long history of American demagogues, from Huey Long to Donald Trump, never has one man caused so much damage in such a short time as Senator Joseph McCarthy. We still use “McCarthyism” to stand for outrageous charges of guilt by association, a weapon of polarizing slander.

One Book, One Chicago 2021 Season

In 2021, Chicago Public Library celebrates the 20th anniversary of the One Book, One Chicago program. In addition to our 2021 season later in the year, throughout 2021 we'll be highlighting and sharing some of our favorite memories of past OBOC seasons. We've also restocked all copies of past titles and will challenge readers to pick up a copy of past OBOC selection they may have missed!

One Book, One Chicago 2020 Season

While we are still analyzing data from the 2020 One Book, One Chicago season, early information indicates that the season was a success, despite taking place in a global pandemic. Our unexpected and fast shift to virtual programming and expansion of eBook and eAudiobook capacity allowed us to reach over 40,000 people from September through December. Attendance at virtual programs was ten times higher than in person attendance the year prior and patrons reported feeling connected with each other and the library during a time of isolation and challenge. Many lessons were learned about virtual programming that will shape CPL's future virtual programming.

Heritage Committee

Black History Month

Join Chicago Public Library in celebrating African American History Month (AAHM) in February. This year, the national theme for Black History Month is The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity. CPL will be exploring this theme through the topic of Black hair.

Programs will be presented by CPL’s African American History Committee and will be categorized by day and subject:

  • Mondays: History of Hair
  • Tuesdays: Hair Tutorial Tuesday/Hair Care
  • Wednesdays: Author Talks
  • Thursdays: Panel Discussions
  • Fridays: Artist and Illustrators
  • Saturday: Pending Children Programs

Reading lists have been created and shared with Adult Content intended for adults, teens and children; surrounding the topic of hair. Additionally, we will have a blog arranged that will highlight and discuss the hair archival collections housed in the Vivian G. Harsh Collection.

Programming highlights include:

  • Opening Ceremony - Film: Documentary Head to Head on Mon, Feb 1st at 6 p.m. A Production by Amelia Street Studio, this film follows six women experiencing traumatic blows to their self-image after unexpectedly losing their hair because of Alopecia, Lupus or chemotherapy. Following the film, there will be a panel discussion on Fri, Feb 5th at noon, featuring award winning illustrator Frank Morrison, visual artist, Ari Brielle, and illustrator and cartoonist, Shannon Wright; where they will discuss the importance of black hair and how they choose to represent it in their art.
  • Hair Care/Tutorials Tuesday- Styles 4Kidz: Hair Care for Families on Tues, February 9 at noon. Join us for an overview of basic hair care, and protective styles. Styles 4 Kidz is a non-profit organization that provides textured hair care resources, education, and services for kids in the transracial adoptive, foster and biracial community.
  • Panel Discussion - Representation Matters on Wed, February 24th at 3 p.m. A panel discussion on how black hair is portrayed in children’s and young adult literature, featuring Candice Washington, CEO and founder Brown Books and Paintbrushes, Tamela Chambers, children’s librarian, Cymonique Jackson, children’s librarian, Tiffeni Fontno, Head Librarian, Educational Resource Center at Boston College, Cierra Kaler Jones, and Rosalie Reyes.

CPL @ HOME

Although CPL branches remain open, we encourage patrons to take advantage of our online resources while we all work to slow the spread of COVID-19. There are dozens of ways patrons can connect with CPL remotely:

  • Request and place holds on items through our mobile app or website before visiting a library location
  • Browse and borrow eBooks, audiobooks, and digital magazines
  • Attend virtual events for all ages, such as game nights, author events, and story times
  • Get remote homework help through Brainfuse and virtual Teacher in the Library sessions
  • Ask for personal assistance via Ask a Librarian by email, chat, or phone

For easy access, a list of these resources can be found on CPL’s landing page www.chipublib.org/CPLatHome/

Together We Heal Campaign

In December, Mayor Lightfoot and the Mayor’s Office of Equity and Racial Justice launched a new citywide initiative – “Together We Heal” – a campaign aimed at building racial healing across Chicago. The goals of the initiative are to empower all Chicagoans to engage in activities fostering connection, restoration and learning at this time of racial reckoning for both the city and the nation.

The week of January 10th marked the city’s first week of racial healing. During “Together We Heal” week, all City departments participated in a series of activities, trainings and workshops focused on racial healing. Here at CPL, the Senior Team participated in a facilitated discussion led by Sylvia Ewing with a focus on the conversation between NPR’s Scott Simon and Caste author Isabel Wilkerson.

The city will hold the “Together We Heal” virtual summit on Fri, Jan 29th, 10AM-12:30PM. Find more information at chi.gov/togetherweheal.

CPL 2020-2024 Strategy Update

We are moving to have our strategy playbook printed and distributed by March 31, 2021. We are currently planning our annual 2020-2021 goals and developing a plan for our year-end report to share with internal and external stakeholders.

New Commissioner Transition

Commissioner Brown will begin in his new role on February 1st. CPL has a variety of onboarding activities planned for our new commissioner including preparation for his first day and week, branch visits to all 81 locations in his first 90 days and connecting with internal and external stakeholders.

New Hires

Stacie Williams - Division Chief for Archives and Special Collections

I am pleased to announce that Stacie Williams is CPL’s new Division Chief for Archives and Special Collections, a new division of the Department of Technology, Content and Innovation. She joined CPL in her new role in mid-December 2020.

Stacie Williams was the inaugural director of the Center for Digital Scholarship at the University of Chicago Library, and she has worked at Case Western Reserve University managing the library's special collections and scholarly content platform Digital Case; the University of Kentucky's Special Collections Research Center; and the Lexington (Ky.) Public Library, notably in the main branch's special collections reading room (Kentucky Room).  Through her work, she focuses on ethical labor and cultural production, and long-term sustainability of digital infrastructure. She holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and an M.S. in Library Science with a concentration in Archives and Manuscripts Management from Simmons College. She was recently named Publications Editor for the Society of American Archivists (2020-2023); serves on the advisory board for the international Digital Library Federation (2017-2021); and the Library of Congress’ National Digital Strategy Roundtable (2019-2021).

Over the next few weeks, she will lead the work to reorganize the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection, the Northside Neighborhood History Collection, Special Collections and Preservation, Exhibits, and Digital Programs under the umbrella of Archives and Special Collections as part of the Department of Technology, Content and Innovation. The new Division will continue to partner with the Municipal Reference Center and Arts and Music on projects for digitization and specialized databases like the Chicago artist files and Chicago elected officials. 

Retirements

Annie Coleman - Library Clerk, Gage Park, 26 years of service

 

Chicago Public Library Foundation Report

Brenda Langstraat, President & CEO of the Chicago Public Library Foundation, will provide an update on behalf of the staff and Board of the Chicago Public Library Foundation and highlight the following:

Contributions to Date

As we close our books for 2020, we are pleased to report the following support for our work with the Library:

  • Secured a total of 1,962 gifts. Of these, 41 gifts were of $25,000 or more.
  • Raised over $3.5M in total gifts and pledges.
  • Welcomed 545 new donors.
  • Received major investments from BMO Harris Bank, The James and Madeleine McMullan Family Foundation, The Allstate Corporation, Peoples Gas, Polk Bros. Foundation, CME Group Foundation, and the Norfolk Southern Corporation, as well as many other generous partners.

Exciting Updates

  • The Library Foundation’s annual Awards event was held virtually on December 9, 2020. It was a remarkable success, engaging more than 2,100 participants and raising over $1.3M for the full scope of our partnership. We appreciate the partnership of the Library in amplifying the event, from Library staff participating and sharing the event to their networks to CPL marketing sharing the event to their patron base through newsletters, social networks, and more.
    • Our post-event survey showed a very positive reaction, with over 85% agreeing that the virtual event was excellent.
  • Our Associate Board is hosting a brand new virtual event this spring: The Read-A-Thon. Aimed at engaging readers of all ages from around the country—and world—it will kick off during National Library Week (April 5) and culminate on the anniversary of National Read-A-thon Day (May 21). Everyone is encouraged to challenge friends and family to see who can read the most while supporting Chicago Public Library in the process. More information will be available on our website closer to the date, so stay tuned.