Library Board of Trustees Special Meeting, March 2018

March 7th, 2018  |  Published in Observer Reports

Library Board of Trustees
March 5, 2018

Present: All Board members except Mr. Cicarella
Also present: Library Director Amy Switzer and a number of library staff members

A presentation (via Skype) of the results of polling relating to the upcoming levy request was presented by Lake Resource Partners.

Phone survey (46 percent cell, 54 percent landline) of 241 registered voters conducted between Jan. 9 and 24 was presented. Initial responses showed 57 percent in support, 22 percent opposed, and the remainder undecided. Results indicated strong and broad-based support for the levy, with a slightly more favorable response from women, registered Democrats, and people living in the northwest part of the city. After questioners presented more detailed pro and con arguments, support rose to 61 percent, opposition to 26 percent, with 17 percent still undecided. Of respondents in the sample group (drawn from representative demographics), 92 percent had a favorable impression of the Shaker Heights Library. Presented with the possible option of joining the county library system, 61 percent were opposed and about 25 percent in favor.

Presenters noted the strong sense of local pride in the Library and the view that it is a key institution in the community and a valuable support to education.

Mike Thomas, of Lake Resource, concluded the presentation with guidance about the legal limits on board members and staff during elections. The role of the board is to educate the public, communicating the reasons for requesting the levy and its ramifications. But neither the board nor the Library may ask for votes. No Library resources may be used to ask for votes. As individuals, there is (of course) no restriction on freedom of speech. Mr. Thomas suggested that those in favor of the levy should 1) identify the problem, 2) identify the solution, and 3) speak and act in a manner to inspire community members to trust the prudence of board’s actions.

Meeting (scheduled to begin at 5:30, but in fact called to order at 5:55) adjourned at 6:50 p.m.
Kathleen Hickman

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