Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Fairhope Library Needs A Lift

Fairhope, Alabama. (

Fairhope library

At its April meeting, Director Tamara Dean told the Library Board she has been having to rent a 'spider lift' every time a bulb needs replacing in the lobby chandeliers -- because they are too high to reach with ladders.

She said the library has always paid for the bulbs out of its yearly budget; but the city is requiring that they take on more maintenance now.

No other city department has a lift suitable that could be borrowed either; that has always been problematic anyway since the library's operation is technically separate from the the rest of the city; they don't usually share equipment.

Dean said she has been changing bulbs one chandelier at a time using longer lasting LED bulbs -- but those are much more costly and are sometimes defective themselves (burn out early).

She said she spent $1,000 last month on bulbs alone.


Dean said the 'Friends of the Library' organization agreed to pay for cleaning the windows and carpets from money received from donations, fundraisers, and by used book sales.

The windows have already been completed, but they will wait until after the summer children's reading program to do the carpets, probably in August.


Dean said she has been informed the city expects the Library Board to fund more of the routine maintenance itself next year; the city will only be doing "big things" related to the building itself  (mechanical, exterior, etc.).

The city owns the building but the Board is responsible for library operations; some members thought the city had a separate maintenance budget for the library, but were not sure.

Board members decided to request from the mayor "in writing" a clearer delineation of maintenance responsibilities of the city vs. the Board, for future budget planning purposes.

Specifically, "what is covered by the city; what is not?"

Dean said there are a number of items needing replacement now, like door stops, ceiling tile, etc.


Even though repairs were made a couple of month ago, the roof is still leaking in heavy rains like those recently, Dean said.

The ceiling in the computer lab, fiction section, and along then north wall show recent water damage.

Dean said she was told by Building Department personnel other city buildings are having  problems as well.

(Leaking roofs seems to be a chronic problem with many large, newly constructed buildings in the county, such as county schools.)


upstairs classroom
After the meeting, Board members toured the upstairs space now being leased to Faulkner College's nursing department: that lease expires later this year -- and conflicting, unofficial reports have been received about whether the college will seek to renew the lease.

The original plan was to lease it to the college only until their new John Borom classroom building was completed.

Director Dean said she would like to move teen services upstairs -- depending upon how much space becomes available.

The city council will have to approve any new lease-arrangement by majority vote -- or choose not to lease any or all of the second floor.


* It was announced the 'Friends of the Library's' annual 'Champagnge and Chocalate' fundraiser raised about $20,000 this year.

* The Board elected new officers:

Martin Lanaux as Chairman

Cecil Christenberry as Vice Chairman

Freda Ward as Secretary


Anonymous said...

why not just get a tall ladder like back in the day.

Anonymous said...

This thing has been a money pit since day one.

Anonymous said...

"The city council will have to approve any new lease-arrangement by majority vote -- or choose not to lease any or all of the second floor." But yet the city won't help with the light bulbs. Go figure. ME,ME,ME.

Publisher said...

The city provides over $700K every year to the library, most of that goes to employee salaries and benefits.

Anonymous said...

If the pitch of roofs isn't steep enough, wind driven rain gets in.

Suzanne said...

It is definitely time, publicly and tangibly recorded, to delineate the responsibilities and expense sharing if not already done. Public knowledge of this might affect fund raising and volunteer participation. What percentage of the entire library budget is city paid and what line item portion of city funds does that comprise? Seems to me the library and the city need to have an open work session and develop a mutual agreement regarding operation areas of responsibility.

Anonymous said...

How many employees do they have to add up to $700k?

Publisher said...

Don't know exactly how many today; but in FY2014 all salaries totaled $457K, $4K for payroll taxes and $45K retirement.

Anonymous said...

Get the architects to change the bulbs and fix the leaks! It was their design and they were paid big bucks for it.They seldom think of practical things like who can reach the bulbs.

Anonymous said...

Alabama spends billions on sports, especially football, but refuses to invest in the intelligence of its citizens, which is often lacking.

Anonymous said...