Friends January 19, 2023 Meeting Minutes

Friends of the Shepherd Park Library Meeting January 19, 2023

Attendees: Mark Pattison, Carl Bergman, Melissa Varga, Deborah Hirsch, Susan Learmonth, Robert Bettmann, Susan Davis, Cheryl Teare, Gay Gallhorn, Patricia Petty Morse, Brenda Mejia, Liz McNichol, Janice Davis

The meeting was called to order at 7:06 pm.

  1. November minutes: Cheryl moves to approve, Robert seconded, no discussion. Motion carries.
  2. Treasurer’s report:
  3. Discussion: the total budget for 2023 is $2255.
  4. Question: is there room for spending money for the mobilization committee? Yes, these are investments we can spend from the account. We have a healthy cash balance in the account.
  5. Motion move to approve the proposed budget by Carl, seconded by Cheryl. No discussion. Motion carries.
  6. Manager’s report from Deborah:
  7. Continuing with the Storytime program and have added a second children’s event, “Music and Movement,” on alternating Fridays.
  8. Kirigami crafting for kids.
  9. Adult programming: movies scheduled for January around MLK biography, job seekers programming regularly, as well as computer and technology assistance. Monthly book club.
  10. Overall, things are going well!
  11. DCPL has a winter reading challenging for kids through the end of March—earn badges, read for fun, move your body, and share in the community this winter.
  12. Facility upgrades—some painting in the meeting room.
  13. Tomorrow there’s a new children’s library starting! This is great news since we’ve been without a children’s librarian since August. Ready for some new energy and ideas!
  14. Last fiscal year: checked out over 7300 books each month (7300 was the floor, most months higher), registered more than 50 patrons each month, and in the last third of the year, it was more than 80 patrons each month.
  15. Questions:
  16. Any issues with noise from the next door construction? Not yet.
  17. If the Friends group is interested in bringing NSO in your Neighborhood to the library, could we do that? Yes, there’s a process to go through with a contract, but the library would be open to it. The Friends group could sponsor it, but any external event has to have a contract.
  18. DC Jail book donation program: The Friends donated nine boxes of paperback books to DC Books to Prisons, a local nonprofit. They were very appreciative of our donation! They accept donations from individuals as well. For more about their requirements and how to donate, visit
  19. Spring book sale dates: It’s time for another book sale! Avoiding April 6 and 9.
  20. Proposed dates: April 29-30, 2023.
  21. Friends are welcome to contribute books to the book sale anytime between now and the end of April. And please help us with sorting and set-up!
  22. Deborah has reserved the room for us for 4/28-30.
  23. “Come As You Are” program events and dates:
  24. Thursday, February 2, look at housing sales in our zip code. The Zoom link is coming soon.
  25. Coming up this spring: Baseball authors giving a spring training preview and curling presentation.
  26. Discussion on the DCPL effort to place a library in Walter Reed: and specifically the Resolution on the DCPL library survey (drafted by Carl Bergman)
  27. The survey was announced at a Walter Reed advisory meeting Monday, 1/9, and released online and with paper copies last week.
  28. Carl introduced a resolution on a library study. (see attachment from Carl Bergman)
  29. Discussion: a study could help the community better understand the impacts of closing or moving the SP library—it could help our case. Early in the Walter Reed planning, there were traffic studies proposed—it was part of the zoning study conducted by the Office of Planning. This seems like an equally reasonable study to conduct. This study could help us avoid community infighting. That’s why it’s also important to have an independent study.
  30. Don’t forget that DCPL is also conducting focus groups, including audiences that don’t attend the library. The survey is not the sole way of collecting feedback.

iii.        Confusing language about who should commission the “independent study.”

  1. Would like to be clear: there is no proposal to open a new library in Manor Park or Brightwood Park. The only current proposal is to move the Shepherd Park branch to Walter Reed.
  2. Concerned that Walter Reed residents will have an outsized sway on the survey.
  3. Suggest adding language to the Resolution about “in a timely manner.”

vii.       Confused about how to feel about potentially moving it to Walter Reed—at least it keeps it near Shepherd Park!

viii.      Doing the study would help us understand the size of the catchment area and showcase that the Walter Reed proposal is not well thought out.

  1. Propose adding language at the beginning of the Resolution that the Friends celebrate maintaining a library in our area and are committed to serving the area.
  2. And whereas the Friends of the Juanita E. Thornton Shepherd-Park Library celebrate the implied commitment to maintaining a Shepherd Park Library with the proposal of a Walter Reed-based library and are concerned that there is not enough information to understand the impact of moving the Juanita Thornton library at this time.
  3. Needs to clarify language around “elected officials,” clarify councilmembers.
  4. **Action item: invite JLG staff to future Friends meetings. They deserve to hear what their constituents think.

xii.       What is the next step after the Resolution passes? Mark will share this with all relevant parties, including our elected officials impacted by this issue.

xiii.      Deborah: the library name will not change.

xiv.       CARL moves the Resolution as amended from its introduction earlier in this meeting. Seconded by Cheryl.

  1. Discussion: I echo the concerns that there should be some type of timeframe—we should indicate that the study results must be shared with the community. “to study current and proposed upper Ward 4 library services in an expeditious manner.”
  2. Carl has accepted this as a friendly amendment.
  4. New Business: Day 8: DC Arts Commission funding for a planning grant on a literary center on Upper Georgia Ave. Robert’s email if people have feedback or want to weigh in: At the next meeting, Robert requests making a presentation.
  5. Reminder: Mobilization committee meeting at 9 am Monday, January 30, at Busboys and Poets in Takoma.
  6. Meeting is adjourned: at 8:34 pm.

Melissa Varga, Secretary