TRANSCRIPT: IHLS Directors' Chat - June 17, 2021


Directors' Chat
Thursday, June 17, 2021


IHLS Admin:  Friendly Reminder:  This discussion is intended to be a cordial and respectful sharing of ideas regarding the programs, services and the operations of public libraries. Conversations may include the challenges of dealing with the public, staff and the board members. The goal is to have an open and supportive conversation. Be mindful that this is a public discussion, and the transcripts are posted on the IHLS website.

Anna Yackle IHLS:  Hi Michelle and Shawn,  glad you are here.  You are welcome to hang out until the meeting starts.

Shawn- Elwood Library District:  Hi Anna, Thanks

Michelle Sawicki Barclay PLD:  Hi Anna! Yes, I logged on early! I missed the last few chats due to staff shortages, so I wanted to make sure I got to attend this one!

Bobbi Perryman - Vespasian Warner PLD:  Hi, everyone!

Shawn- Elwood Library District:  Hi Bobbi

Annette Columbia Public:  Hello there.  Hope everyone is doing well. 

Michelle Sawicki Barclay PLD:  Hi Bobbi!

Anna Yackle IHLS:  Hello and good afternoon to each of you! Glad you could make it.

Shawn- Elwood Library District:  Hi Annette

Bobbi Perryman - Vespasian Warner PLD:  So, how many people are still requiring vaccinated staff to wear masks?

Monica Cameron- Shelbyville Public Library:  Shelbyville is not.

Deb. Mason Paxton Carnegie:  Masks are optional here

Lisa Winters (Allerton Public Library):  I"m still requiring all employees to wear a mask - I still have 3 staff members who are not vaccinated (and have no plans to vaccinate).

Bobbi Perryman - Vespasian Warner PLD:  I have one holdout.

Rachel R (Steeleville):  Our mask policy is up for discussion at our board meeting Monday, but currently everyone is still required to wear them.

Kami Komm - Germantown:  Masks optional here.

Annette Columbia Public:  Masks are optional here as well. 

Esther Curry--CE Brehm Memorial PLD:  Mt Vernon isn't requiring masks for anyone vaccinated--staff or patron.

Deb. Mason Paxton Carnegie:  I have one staff member who will not get vaccinated. She's an adult..her choice. Three clerks still wear them even though they are vaccinated.

Jennifer Cernich (Riverton Village Library):  Riverton decided that because the children wear them the staff will wear them.

IHLS Admin:  Based on a networking group I met with last week, masks are still all over the place.

Deb. Mason Paxton Carnegie:  When I do children's programs, I will wear a mask.

Anna Yackle IHLS:  Ellen and I are busy trying to pull together some programs and get them on the calendar . I am creating the L2 listing for  our next Members Matter on July 15 at 10 a.m. .  the description is :  Join Mandy Saia and Karen Egan from the Illinois State Library to learn about the American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) grants available from the Illinois State Library.  This 1.5 hours program will give you an overview of the ARPA offerings, application process, eligibility requirements, allowable expenses, general expectations for a well written application, and more.  Learn how your library could use grant funds to make a difference for the workforce in your community; restore library services that were shuttered or reduced during the pandemic; or enhance the library’s capacity based on response to and recovery from the pandemic.

Ellen Popit/IHLS:  @Deb, that was the conversation at the networking group---it all had to do with kids still not being vaccinated.

Monica Cameron- Shelbyville Public Library:  All of our staff but one is vaccinated, and the one holdout works alone on a different floor.

Bobbi Perryman - Vespasian Warner PLD:  That's exactly where we on Monica.

Bobbi Perryman - Vespasian Warner PLD:  Thanks, everyone!

Deb. Mason Paxton Carnegie:  @Ellen, since I do all of the programming, it's easy for me to wear a masks around the kids. The clerks who work in the children's department are still wearing as well.

Carrie Russell - Maroa Public:  For the next month Maroa is requiring masks for everyone because we're in the middle of Summer Read.  Unvaccinated children and our elderly population won't mix well.  After that we will probably go to masks "recommended/encouraged but not required".

Ellen Popit/IHLS:  @Carrie, that makes a lot of sense.

Bobbi Perryman - Vespasian Warner PLD:  For patrons, we require masks for vaccinated and children under 12. We also require all participants at children's programs to wear masks.

Carrie Russell - Maroa Public:  @Ellen - I hope the board agrees on Monday!

Anna Yackle IHLS:  I had someone ask me if we had any compiled information abut the way you have handled the minimum wage  increase and its impact on your services, hours and staff.  We do not and I am not sure if anyone else has done that yet either.  Has anyone seen that data?

Deb. Mason Paxton Carnegie:  Our door signs also read, "Masks Encouraged." I will say that MOST patrons still come in with a mask on. We still offer hand sanitizer.

Jennifer Cernich (Riverton Village Library):  Riverton has a sign up that mask are "Requested"

Ellen Popit/IHLS:  18 months ago, who would have thought we'd be having these conversations and it being such a huge issue?????

Ellen Popit/IHLS:  How is summer reading going?

Amy Byers - Chatham APLD:  @Anna, I have not seen anything on that.  I have my plan, but every year will depend on a lot of factors Kami Komm - Germantown:  Had my first art project on Monday.  8 children participated.  13 opted for the To-Go option.

Ellen Popit/IHLS:  That's interesting, Kami.  COVID has had a big impact on To-Go and virtual options.

Anna Yackle IHLS:  @Amy, I responded that I had not seen anything and each library has adopted their own approach.

Rachel R (Steeleville):  We had 18 kids at our kick-off event, which is a lot for us. 25 have signed up for Summer Reading, which is also a lot for us. I think everyone's ready to have something to do!

Rachel R (Steeleville):  Our weekly take-home crafts are flying out the door too.

Carrie Russell - Maroa Public:  I don't have SRP numbers for the program last Monday yet, but we have 59 registered, so we're thrilled with that!  Our first check-in is tomorrow, so we'll see how many come in.  We're hopeful.

Kami Komm - Germantown:  @ Ellen  - that and I think many cannot make it at the time I can provide.  I could offer an evening as well, but that would be in conflict with the baseball games that are scheduled, so I just had to pick a time and stick with it.  :-)

Carrie Russell - Maroa Public:  @Rachel R - we have quite a few preferring take-and-makes as well, rather that in-house programs.

Bobbi Perryman - Vespasian Warner PLD:  Those numbers all sound great! Our goal was 200 sign ups and we're almost to 400!

Carrie Russell - Maroa Public:  @Bobbi  Fantastic!

Bobbi Perryman - Vespasian Warner PLD:  We had 29 at our last program and we were really happy.

Ellen Popit/IHLS:  Wow!  That's great, Bobbi!

Bobbi Perryman - Vespasian Warner PLD:  We had a family come in the other day that hadn't been in since the pandemic started. One of the little girls told me that the library "still smells so good"!

Amy Byers - Chatham APLD:  Aww. Very cute.  Gotta love a good library smell

Bobbi Perryman - Vespasian Warner PLD:  It is a great smell :)

Pam - West Frankfort Public:  Our first week we had a story walk down our Main street. Last week we had the Department of Conservation at our park pond with a fishing demo. Both were very well attended and the kids loved both events!

Bobbi Perryman - Vespasian Warner PLD:  The fishing demo sounds really cool!

Michelle Sawicki Barclay PLD:  We are saying masks are required for the unvaccinated, but there is really no way for us to tell if someone has had their shot. The numbers are great though...I believe a test positivity rate of .07% now, so we are even thinking of opening our meeting room

Rachel-Sherman PLD:  All of our programs for kids are outside this summer.  Wednesday programs have been better attended than our Saturday programs.  The highest turnout was 70 at our paint with waterguns event.  The tie-dye party had 40 kids participate.  We also hosted a color fight and an outdoor day so far.   

Amy Byers - Chatham APLD:  That's great Michelle.  We will be opening our conference room in July. the rest will be when school starts, as we are still using them for storage, donated books, stuff like that. 

Bobbi Perryman - Vespasian Warner PLD:  We have started normal rentals of two of our rooms (one is still toy storage).

Rachel R (Steeleville):  I finally got supplies for a story walk (many of them donated!) and I'm hoping to get that set up soon.

Bobbi Perryman - Vespasian Warner PLD:  We had been renting just one of the rooms, but not allowing food, kitchen access, or after-hours rentals. Now, it's fully open.

Rachel-Sherman PLD:  Are your patrons asking for children's toys?  Has anyone put them out yet?  What does your furniture situation look like?

Ellen Popit/IHLS:  It's really fun to see all of you talking about opening up more and more.  Very encouraging!

Amy Byers - Chatham APLD:  Good question Rachel.  We've put out our children's computers and puzzles. Not all of the toys just yet.  I'm not sure how to bring them all back Deb. Mason Paxton Carnegie:  No toys out here for awhile yet.

Bobbi Perryman - Vespasian Warner PLD:  We made a "catalog" of a selection of easy-to-clean toys. Patrons can pick from the catalog and "check out" the toy at the desk.

Michelle Sawicki Barclay PLD:  We are thinking about possibly putting toys back out just for lack of space. They may end up in the shed though. Ideally it would happen after the littles can get shots

Rachel R (Steeleville):  We had one person ask about toys. Ours are not out yet...

Esther Curry--CE Brehm Memorial PLD:  Whe haven't put out toys yet. Partly because we just hired a new children's librarian and want to give her time to train first.

Amy Byers - Chatham APLD:  We plan on doing that too in July Bobbi.  WE get a lot of questions about our toy area.  It's hot out there and we have AC. :-)

Pam - West Frankfort Public:  Rachel - all of our furniture/seating areas are open. We have coloring pages and crayons in the children's room but do not have any of our games and puzzles out yet.

Bobbi Perryman - Vespasian Warner PLD:  @Amy - exactly!

Kami Komm - Germantown:  We put out all of our toys and games.  Haven't had anyone use them yet, but I have a basket for them to go in once someone has played with them so we can clean them before anyone else uses them.

Bobbi Perryman - Vespasian Warner PLD:  Once the patron returns the toy, we clean it and put it back in storage.

Esther Curry--CE Brehm Memorial PLD:  We have started having a puzzle out for patrons to work on in our adult department. This is something we have done for over 20 years--it has been missed.

Bobbi Perryman - Vespasian Warner PLD:  @Esther - thanks for bringing that up. We'll probably put ours out again soon.

Rachel-Sherman PLD:  @ Amy and Bobbi yes.  People want a place to "hang out" with their kids for hours when it's too hot to play outside.  I just don't know if we're ready to be that place for unvaccinated kids just yet.

Amy Byers - Chatham APLD:  We need to come up with a procedure in regards to how to clean all the toys.  Not for right now, but for when everything is out again. Those toys are nasty.. so many germs. I'm not worried about Covid, I'm worried about everything else that's on them.   : P

Bobbi Perryman - Vespasian Warner PLD:  I think the size of the building makes a difference. If we weren't able to socially distance groups easily, we might have a different policy.

Amy Byers - Chatham APLD:  Exactly Bobbi.  Ditto.

Bobbi Perryman - Vespasian Warner PLD:  @Amy - we've been thinking along the same lines. Kids are gross (I know, I have two). We're thinking maybe have the toys on rotation and cleaning the toys when they aren't out. If anyone has a procedure for that, I would love to take a look at it.

Michelle Sawicki Barclay PLD:  I will also chime in with, "What kid safe cleaners are you using for the toys?"

Ellen Popit/IHLS:  GREAT question, Michelle!

Amy Byers - Chatham APLD:  We use Dawn dish soap for the things that be cleaned in the sink.  I'm not sure what they're using for those that can't.  It might not be the best cleaner.. I'll have to look into it.

Kami Komm - Germantown:  Our sanitizing wipes are peroxide based.  Clorox and Lysol were not available when I put in an order.  We also let the items dry completely before putting them back. 

Bobbi Perryman - Vespasian Warner PLD:  We have been using Lysol and letting the items dry before going out again.

Ellen Popit/IHLS:  Here's an article that looked interesting:

Bobbi Perryman - Vespasian Warner PLD:  Thanks, Ellen!

Anna Yackle IHLS:  Illinois Humanities has grant offerings and they are particularly seeking out libraries with budgets under $2 million.  Here is a video and slides that Diane Foote , the Director of ILA shared with us.  Here is the YouTube video and here are the slides  Janet McAllister also wanted us to share information about the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program

USAC will conduct several outreach and training sessions about the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program. Interested schools and libraries are invited to register for an Emergency Connectivity Fund Program overview training.


Michelle Sawicki Barclay PLD:  Thank you, Ellen!

Ellen Popit/IHLS:  Well, in a year we've made the shift from using the strongest cleaners and sanitizers we could find to safely cleaning toys.  I'd say that 's a happy shift.

Amy Byers - Chatham APLD:  Anna, can you email that information to us too?  That's a lot there that I'll want to investigate further

Rachel-Sherman PLD:  @ Anna the last two links didn't work for me.

Michelle Sawicki Barclay PLD:  @ Rachel, just take out the period at the end

Rachel-Sherman PLD:  Lol thanks Michelle

Michelle Sawicki Barclay PLD:  ;)

Ellen Popit/IHLS:  We'll make sure that information gets into the Newsletter!

Amy Byers - Chatham APLD:  Thanks Ellen!

Anna Yackle IHLS:  Yes, I will check out the links and probably add more information about the  grant offerings. I have also reached out to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to see if libraries can take advantage of any of the money they have out there.

Ellen Popit/IHLS:  I'm sorry if I'm repeating anything that Anna's told you already, but I hope some of you have seen that the Association for Rural and Small Libraries will be offering a hybrid option for their conference at a VERY affordable price.  Here's the link:

Ellen Popit/IHLS:  Any questions on anyone's mind that they'd like to share with the group?

Anna Yackle IHLS:  I am very excited by the grant offering that the state will share with us during Membes Matter on July 15.

Anna Yackle IHLS:  here is a link for the Illinois Humanities Grant

Annette Columbia Public:  Was it ever decided that there would be a special code for the cards for kids library cards.  It seems like that was asked in the past. 

Ellen Popit/IHLS:  We're wrapping up our fiscal year at the system.  Who else is in the same boat and what tasks does that involve for you?

Anna Yackle IHLS:  I know we discussed last week to go a little further a field than the state library to look for grant opportunities. Does anyone have a source of money they really like and found reliable.

Monica Cameron- Shelbyville Public Library:  Ours ended April 30. I have submitted my IPLAR but still need to compile a report for my board.

Amy Byers - Chatham APLD:  We have  a program tonight sponsored by the IL humanities and one this fall. such a great resource! 

Esther Curry--CE Brehm Memorial PLD:  There is a statistical code for Cards for Kids rather than patron code.

Teresa (Paris):  Mine also ended April 30. I have IPLAR done, except waiting for the city treasurer's surety bond so I should have it submitted by Monday.

Annette Columbia Public:  Thank you Esther. 

Esther Curry--CE Brehm Memorial PLD:  You're welcome

Anna Yackle IHLS:  When completing your IPLAR do you find certain questions confusing or unclear?

Annette Columbia Public:  I'm also working on IPLAR.  Wish I could say it was done.  Hopefully soon. 

Annette Columbia Public:  I do find some questions confusing, but I alway think it is probably just me.  I ask Pat Burg and she is VERY nice and helpful.

Anna Yackle IHLS:  Ellen and I spoke with staff from RAILS and the ISL about the Certification process. Do any of you have comments you would like to share that could halp us improve the process?

Lisa Winters (Allerton Public Library):  I'm pulling some information for the IPLAR but my focus right now is on the end of the year reports and the tentative budget for the upcoming year.

Ellen Popit/IHLS:  The staff at ISL is so good with helping us.  They've never failed to be anything other than kind and understanding to me and I've asked A LOT of questions over the years!

Monica Cameron- Shelbyville Public Library:  @Lisa ALL of that at once?! That is a ton of work! Sending relaxing vibes your way!

Ellen Popit/IHLS:  What are your policies on using vacation time?  That always comes up at the end of our fiscal year!

Lisa Winters (Allerton Public Library):  @Monica - yes all at once.  Chocolate gets me through it (every year).

Monica Cameron- Shelbyville Public Library:  @Ellen Do you mean whether or not staff gets paid for unused time or a use it or lose it policy?

Pam - West Frankfort Public:  Ellen - We have to "use it or lose it". We cannot accumulate any of our PTO and cannot "sell back" .

Ellen Popit/IHLS:  @Monica---yes, that's what I meant.

Lisa Winters (Allerton Public Library):  I encourage vacation time to be used throughout the year.  At the end of the fiscal year staff are allowed to carry over 5 vacation days.

Amy Byers - Chatham APLD:  We have a use it or lose it policy, but I want to move it from a fiscal year to a calendar year. I HATE that everyone takes vacation during summer reading, at the end of the fiscal year. I'd rather use it in December when we are slower.  I'm working to get that done.

Anna Yackle IHLS:  Has anyone eliminated paid leave or other benefits to pay for the increase in minimum wage?

Michelle Sawicki Barclay PLD:  We have use it or lose it here too. I like your idea, Amy!

Monica Cameron- Shelbyville Public Library:  Shelbyville is based on a calendar year and we have a use it or lose it policy.

Amy Byers - Chatham APLD:  @Michelle, the auditor said we could do it, so I am just working on the rest of the policy.  Figuring out how to convert to that schedule is trickier than it sounds.

Ellen Popit/IHLS:  @Amy, I'm sure the transition period is tricky!

Michelle Sawicki Barclay PLD:  Oh, please do share when you have figured it out! We just moved to a calendar year raise cycle so this absolutely makes sense for us

Amy Byers - Chatham APLD:  Exactly.  HR source said I'd have to essentially give all of the vacation time in July, then again in January.. so they get 1/2 more that first year. IT makes no sense, so I'm still trying to figure it out

Michelle Sawicki Barclay PLD:  That is the way we did raises the first time we went to a calendar year. A raide in July and another in January

Michelle Sawicki Barclay PLD:  *rasie

Bobbi Perryman - Vespasian Warner PLD:  We allow 10 days of roll over, but I encourage the staff to use it throughout the year.

Michelle Sawicki Barclay PLD:  raise lol...I can't spell

Amy Byers - Chatham APLD:  Interesting. I'll keep you posted!

Ellen Popit/IHLS:  Please do, Amy!

Bobbi Perryman - Vespasian Warner PLD:  I like your idea too!

Pam - West Frankfort Public:  Anna - A few years ago our Board voted to discontinue any PTO for part time employees. I have one part time person that is still covered under the old policy.  Everyone does get paid Holiday pay if it falls on a day that they are regularly scheduled. The Board's decisoin at the time had nothing to do with the current minimum wage increases though.

Amy Byers - Chatham APLD:  I'm also advocating for exempt  staff to get another week of vacation. The board seemed cool with that. so yay for me.. as the only exempt employee. Time will tell when I actually present the policy, if they'll approve it or not.

Bobbi Perryman - Vespasian Warner PLD:  Our exempt staff get an extra week. It's very nice.

Michelle Sawicki Barclay PLD:  Do any of you have sick or vaca for people who work 20 hours or less? If so, how much?

Esther Curry--CE Brehm Memorial PLD:  We have a use it or lose it for vacation/personal days, but can roll over sick days based on IMRF.

Amy Byers - Chatham APLD:  No. Not under 20.  Yay for you Bobbi! I'll make sure I mention that to help my case. :-)

Bobbi Perryman - Vespasian Warner PLD:  We only have leave for jury duty, maternity/parental, and bereavement for under 20 hours.

Bobbi Perryman - Vespasian Warner PLD:  @Amy - good luck!

Amy Byers - Chatham APLD:  Thanks!

Twilla Coon-Mount Carmel Public Library:  My staff don't get paid vacation  or if we closed for a Holiday since they are part time. I am the only one working full time.

Esther Curry--CE Brehm Memorial PLD:  @Michelle--we have sick time for our part time staff. The amount depends on if they are on IMRF or not.

Carrie Russell - Maroa Public:  I'm the only one with paid vacation.  Everyone else is part time.

Michelle Sawicki Barclay PLD:  @ Esther, none of mine work enough to be on IMRF

Monica Cameron- Shelbyville Public Library:  Goodbye all! Thank you.

Esther Curry--CE Brehm Memorial PLD:  We have some on IMRF, but not all

Peggy MVE:  Thank you. Lots of good info.

Bobbi Perryman - Vespasian Warner PLD:  Thanks, everyone!

Michelle Sawicki Barclay PLD:  Thanks, everyone!

Carrie Russell - Maroa Public:  Have a great weekend, everyone!

Ellen Popit/IHLS:  Have a great weekend!  It's fun getting out and about a little more than we were able to last summer!

Kay Burrous  South Macon:  Stay safe!!!

Anna Yackle IHLS:  This has been a series of good discussions today.  I am sorry to say we have reached the end of our time. Thank you all for participating. Have a great weekend.

Shawn- Elwood Library District:  Thanks everyone Rachel R (Steeleville):  Thanks!