The newly appointed board for the Meaford Public Library held their first meeting on Wednesday January 25, and it was clear that all members of the board want to quickly negotiate a new service contract with the Owen Sound & North Grey Union Public Library board.
Meaford Mayor Barb Clumpus made a brief appearance at the beginning of the meeting to welcome the new board.
“I am not attached to this board at all, I'm invited on occasion, and I'm happy to come when I am invited,” Mayor Clumpus told the board. “I bring greetings on behalf of council, specifically to thank you all for volunteering to be part of this wonderful group. There's a couple things that I want to reiterate, and that is council's full support of this library and its philosophy, particularly of inclusivity and and free and open and boundary-free access for all.”
After a round of introductions and a tour of the library facility, the board got to work.
The first order of business was to elect a chair and vice chair for the new board. Councillor Mike Poetker was chosen as chair of the board, while returning board member Nancy Primak was elected Vice Chair.
The consensus among the board members was that the most pressing issue is to find a resolution to the OSNGUPL contract. While the OSNGUPL board has extended library services to Sydenham residents as well as any Meaford resident wishing to obtain an OSNGUPL card until the end of March, the incoming board said they may need a little more time given that four of the five new library board members have no previous experience.
The board agreed to request that council release the $120,500 that has been budgeted for the OSNGUPL contract in 2017 so that a payment for the first quarter of the year can be forwarded to the OSNGUPL, and they also agreed to send a letter to the OSNGUPL advising that the new MPL board was in place, and to express thanks for the extension of library services through March, with a possible request of an additional one month extension in order to allow the newly appointed board to find their feet and establish a plan.
New board member Jeremy McCoubrey also suggested that a letter be sent to the previous board members who resigned in December thanking them for their service.
As for the direction the new board will take in negotiating a new deal with the OSNGUPL, while the next regular meeting of the board is scheduled for February 15, in order to provide additional time to dedicate to the contract issue, the board has scheduled a special meeting on February 8, in order to establish a game plan.
“We have a clean slate,” Chair Mike Poetker told the board. “We'd like to move forward from what's happened in the past.”