Otis Library & Museum August Minutes – August 11, 2022

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Otis Library & Museum August Minutes – August 11, 2022, 6:00 PM

Members present:  Kathy Bort, Diane Dyer, Chair, Sue Brofman, Susan Ebitz, Lois Hall, Donna Rich, Celeste Watman, Guest: Geoff Pigman

Chair Diane Dyer called the meeting to order at 6:15 PM.

Approval of Minutes

Celeste made a motion, seconded by Sue B. to approve the July Meeting Minutes. The motion was unanimously passed.

Treasurer’s reports: A motion was made by Susan E., seconded by Donna to accept the July Treasurer’s Report. The treasurer’s report was unanimously approved.

Director’s Report:

Attendance: 18 adults, 5 children a day

Circulation: museum passes high, Children’s summer reading 4-6 per week, delivery 5 bins a week

Programming: COMING/Past events

TRIVIA QUESTIONS – 8 participants

BRAG TAG JULY – 20 earned

UKULELE WORKSHOP – 19 participants

TY ALLAN JACKSON – 8/25/2022, Town Hall, 6:30 PM

Technology Workshop Schedule, Workshops presented by John Charrow, the cost is $1125. The library and Otis Cultural Council will each pay $450, the Council on Aging will pay $225.

Workshop 1   The Basics and Beyond – Learn how to effectively use your devices to their potential.  Looking at using the Calendar, setting up contacts, notes, and sending and using links.  Integrating and connecting your devices, and using Alexa, Siri and others to make life easier.

Session 1(Saturday August 20) 11-1:30    Session 2(Monday, August 22) 4:00 – 6:00PM

90 minutes instruction                                 90-minute instruction

60-minute help session                                60-minute help session

Travel                                                               Travel

Workshop 2       The Cloud & File Management – what is the cloud, how to use it.  How to transfer pictures from the hone, and computer to the cloud.  Looking at how safe and secure is data in the cloud.

Session 1 (Saturday, 8/27, 10 -12:30)        Session 2 (Monday, 8/22, 4 – 6:30 PM)

90 minutes instruction                                 90-minute instruction

60-minute help session                                60-minute help session

Travel                                                              Travel

Workshop 3 Smart phones, apps, passwords, file management (Wednesday August 24, 11-1:30)

90 Minute instruction

60-minute help session


Location: Town Hall, Council on Aging meeting room

ARIS Annual Report Highlights: Holdings: books 6727, audio 546, video 2673

Circulation: books 5545, audio 261, video 5626, Interlibrary loans: received, 3593, provided 1757

Hours Open: 1332 hours, Saturdays 196, Evenings 130, Attendance: 3211 patrons

Programs: “live” 14, virtual 11, Patrons: 1254, Website hits: 1223

A motion was made by Susan E., seconded by Donna to accept the July Director’s Report. The motion was unanimously passed.


Old Business:

Technology Issues: Kathy, Lois, Diane and Sue B. met with John Shannon and were very hopeful that technology issues at Library would be resolved now and easier to ameliorate in the future. If the library is purchasing tech, orders should be sent to Brandi, Town Administrator. Troubleshooting issues will be resolved by contacting John Shannon directly. John Shannon fixed the names on the computer, replaced monitor on the back of the administrative computer, replaced 2 USB hubs, increased storage on library shared file from 30 gig to 50 gig, and supplied the “Admin” code for software updates. John will discuss wiring needs with Larry concerning wiring needs, he will make a referral to Gt. Barrington to consult on the Hatch Printer, replace 3 computers by 9/17, determine if an access point is needed for the wireless signal in the Morris Room. Brandi solved the shared drive storage issue. Verizon came on August 11 and installed a single phone line for faxes. The FAX number is 413-269-0119. The estimated cost is $40 a month. The usage will be tracked for a year. The Board thanked Kathy and Lois for their patience and Diane and Sue B. for diligent attention to resolving tech issues.”

StoryWalk: 8/27/22, 10:00 AM, “Songs of Change” by Amanda Gorham


New Business:

Mask Policy: Background: Geoff Pigman, Patron, had written the Library Director requesting removing the mask mandate citing the availability of vaccines and boosters and the difficulties masks presented those with disabilities. In her capacity as Library Director, Kathleen Bort acknowledged, Mr. Pigman’s request and via email offered curbside pickup, the suggestion to wear a face shield rather than a mask or get materials online as possible solutions. In an email dated July 25th addressed to the Board, Mr. Pigman reiterated his position as to why he felt the mask requirement should be lifted at the library. Director Bort requested that this item be placed on the agenda of the August meeting and invited Mr. Pigman to attend.

At this cordial meeting, Mr. Pigman detailed his disability and the difficulty it created for him to wear a mask. He had in the past done so out of respect for public health  as COVID caused serious disease and death prior to the development of vaccines, booster shots and treatment options. Mr. Pigman took advantage of these options as well and said that patrons with disabilities were being treated as “second-class citizens” if the compromise included the suggestions made by the library. Director Kathleen Bort shared the most recent data (8/5/22) released concerning Southern Berkshire County COVID – 19 numbers. The previous week (July 24-30) saw a jump in case numbers, up +3.6%. MA State Guidance: “Anyone at high risk for severe disease – asked to mask indoors.” She also pointed out that maintaining social distancing was very difficult at the library due to lack of space. Did we want to severely limit the number of people who could be in the library at one time? Other board members spoke mentioning that many cultural venues in the Berkshires required proof of vaccinations and imposed mask mandates for inside performances. Acknowledgment of the difficulty of wearing masks was agreed upon by all board members. Could a compromise be reached where “optional mask” requirements could be in effect? The Board promised that this issue would be discussed, and a compromise sought as soon as possible. Mr. Pigman seemed satisfied. Immediately following his departure from the meeting, the Board discussed possible options that might satisfy Mr. Pigman’s request and keep our patrons safe. After much discussion a motion was made that stated, “Respecting all our patrons health needs, The Otis Library will offer optional mask -wearing sessions on Tuesday from 12:00 to 2:00 PM., and on Thursdays from 5:00 – 7:00 PM.” This motion proposed by Susan E. and seconded by Celeste was unanimously approved by the Board.

Historical Commission Request – Celeste requested that Otis Historical Commission be allowed to move historic papers from Harmony Hall as the group was told they had two weeks to move all materials out of the building. Donna made a motion to “Allow the Otis Historical Commission to store material related to the Town’s history upstairs in the room adjacent to the museum,” Sue. B seconded; Celeste abstained from the vote. The motion passed unanimously.

Appreciation Card – The Board was so grateful to Paul Gage for remaking his donation of a “Firestarter” for the Library Fair Raffle after his first donation was inadvertently taken to the transfer station. Kathy will send a card.

Library ramp and entryway – The ramp is sinking and it is a safety issue. Pictures will be taken and Susan E. in her capacity as recording secretary will write to Larry G. Building Inspector on behalf of the board.

Review of Open Meeting Law – The Board discussed what this entailed when members met via phone, email or in person outside of meetings.

State Financial Report required salary amounts. It was noted that in 2023, minimum wage in the Commonwealth would be $15. Kyle, and Kathy C. will receive $15 an hour. Children’s Librarian, Kerry will receive $16 an hour, Assistant Director Lois Hall will receive $18 and Director Kathleen Bort $21 for the fiscal year 2023.

Other: The sewer bill was $1,000. All questioned this amount.

A motion was made to adjourn the meeting by Celeste, seconded by Sue. B the meeting was adjourned at 7:55.


Respectfully Submitted,

Susan Ebitz, Recording Secretary

Next Meeting: September 8,

Future Meetings: October 13, November 10, December 8, 2022