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Raises eyed for library workers

No action was taken on moving the law library when the Halifax County Library Board of Trustees met Tuesday in the Halifax Library, but raises are being sought for library employees who haven’t seen a pay hike for the last five years. 

Todd Shockley of the Halifax County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office is eager to talk to the new Library Director Jay Stephens about moving the law library, according to Chairman Bee E. Espy. 

Stephens said he was told it is a busy time for attorneys, and since they had “a lot going on” they would be in touch soon about what they would like to do. 

Currently, the Bar Association is expected to review and correct an agreement to return to the library system regarding expectations and requirements for moving the library. 

The board also approved a budget request brought by Stephens that includes raises for employees for the first time in five years.  

The letter written by Stephens was sent to County Finance Director Stephanie Jackson to be included in the FY 2014-2015 county budget Wednesday.

It presents two options for funding requests with the first amount being $220,300 which would allow the library to improve collections, increase programming opportunities and return to full-time student status staff that are now part-time but were previously full-time. 

Board members also requested the letter spell out the $220,300 total library budget would allow for a raise, something library employees have not received in five years. 

The second option is a request for level funding of $192,000 as requested last year which would allow the library to improve collections and increase programming opportunities. 

Last year the library system received $175,000. 

Stephens told the board it is likely the library system would receive the same amount as last year, but “if you don’t ask, you don’t get or they don’t know you need.”  

Stephens also presented a collection development policy to the board for review. It will be brought back for a vote at the next meeting. 

Even though the library system already has a policy in place, the new library director said he wanted to “tighten up” some library policies. 

The new policy would include a collection development policy, an art display policy and a code of behavior policy, unattended children policy and public use of library telephones policy. 

South Boston Library Branch Manager Chris Thompson and Stephens also offered an update on duties since undertaking their new positions. 

Thompson has set up a Twitter account, https://twitter.com/HCSBPubLibrary for the library system and recently signed up 55 Halifax County High School students to receive a library card as well as a number of teachers. 

He is also working with Stephens on a series of author appearances at the libraries. 

On March 1 for Dr. Seuss’s birthday, they currently have two authors lined up and are hoping to find one more. The three authors would allow a time for 3 to 5 year olds to come, then a tween time followed by a teen time. 

Thompson also is working to set up an event at the South Boston library on Feb. 22 before the Crossing of the Dan event at The Prizery. 

During Stephen’s update, he said he has set up a meeting to have lunch with Kim Armentrout from the Library of Virginia on Jan. 24. 

Armentrout previously met with the board to discuss possibilities of regionalizing the county libraries. 

He also told the board he contacted representatives of Polaris Library System to discuss the costs of upgrades because they will not be able to switch to the Evergreen library software system. 

Evergreen would enable the librarians to keep track of patrons’ interests and help manage library resources.

The board had expressed interest in using the Evergreen software but has since missed the deadline for this year. 

The board also reviewed the financial summary which appeared to show the libraries were “on target or a little better” with their budget. 

The bibliostat report brought by Stephens showed “no problems” and the library had “spend all state aid.” 

In regard to the director’s report, Stephens said numbers for December were up over last year’s, but for the whole second quarter numbers were slightly down in comparison to last year.  

Patron visits have increased since the Halifax Library started opening daily. 

The e-collection numbers appeared to be “dormant” reaching “not even 100 a month.” Stephens suggested it is simply a program that is not being promoted or explained enough.  

Prior to adjourning, the board went into closed session to discuss personnel issues.