New bylaws for library

By on May 21, 2010

Friends president questions board’s process, action
by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Library Board on May 13 changed several library bylaws to make it easier for the board to outline its officers’ responsibilities and to navigate a budget expected to tighten considerably during the next year, library officials said.

The changes include termination of the library’s committee system in favor of library representative positions; an addition of a second Committee-of-the-Whole meeting each month; designation of the Library Board president as a primary spokesperson for the Library Board; and a decreased limit on how much money the library director can spend without seeking board approval. Any donations to the library exceeding $100 will now require board approval, as well.

The Library Board chose to hold off on a proposed change to the bylaw affecting the library director’s personnel decisions until further review.

“We are optimistic about the library’s future, and we believe these bylaw changes will have a positive impact on our library, and allow us to more effectively accomplish what we need to in the year ahead, within the confines of our new budget,” Sugar Grove Library Trustee Sabrina Malano said.

Malano’s optimism is not a universal feeling throughout Sugar Grove, however. Friends of the Library President Pat Graceffa gave a statement during the Library Board meeting, questioning the board’s decision to replace a committee with eight library representative positions.

“How is the board more qualified than the staff we have in place?” Graceffa asked. “I would also suggest that these library representative positions eliminate the diversity of input a committee would bring to the table.”

According to Graceffa, a committee meeting to review bylaws and conduct a survey discussion was held on April 22 at a library trustee’s home instead of the Sugar Grove Public Library, where the meetings are usually held.

“This board has an agenda, and they seem to think the way they are conducting business is unapproachable,” she said. “The board president knew I wanted to attend the bylaw and survey discussion meeting held in a trustees’ home, (and) he knew I was not welcomed in that home. Nonetheless, the meeting still took place in that home instead of in our library.”

Graceffa insisted throughout her statement that she does not challenge the Library Board’s right to make changes to any existing bylaws, but asked for the board to clearly demonstrate how the approved changes could benefit the Sugar Grove community.

Sugar Grove Library Board President Art Morrical said the library representative system was chosen because of the numerous scheduling constraints the board experienced while using a committee.

“Moving to a system of library representatives allows us to hold all our meetings as regular board meetings on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month,” he said. “That way, we can proceed with full board participation and continue moving ahead with critical budget discussions.”

Malano said the bylaw changes were implemented so that the Sugar Grove Public Library can stay current with updates made to Illinois state law, and also serve both the library and the voters who elected current library board members.

“Our goal as trustees has been, and always will be, giving our patrons the best possible library experience,” she said.