Library Board acts after Friends of the Library propose change in bylaws

·3 min read

Oct. 13—WORTHINGTON — The Nobles County Library Board agreed to have one of its own members become an ex officio member of the executive committee of the Friends of the Nobles County Library Monday.

"We aren't controlled by the (Nobles County) commissioners or the (library) board," said Pete Navara, who attended the meeting as a representative of the Friends of the Nobles County Library. "We're our own entity in ourselves."

"Reading the bylaws, the library is connected (to the Friends) in various ways," said Kathy Craun, a member of the Library Board.

She pointed to Article II of the bylaws, which states that "The Friends of the Library exist to make the Nobles County Library more valuable by supporting special programs, projects, events and needs. This Corporation is formed exclusively for charitable and educational purposes, and in connection therewith, exclusively for the education of the people of the Nobles County Library service area, by and through its assistance to the Nobles County Library, a municipal library owned by Nobles County, Minnesota, a political subdivision of the State of Minnesota."

Craun also drew the Library Board's attention to Section 3 of Article X in the Friends' bylaws, stating that in the event of the dissolution of the Friends, the charity's assets would be distributed to the Nobles County Library for the exclusive purpose of the needs of the library.

The Friends of the Nobles County Library, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) incorporated in 1989, had sought to change its bylaws in multiple ways, including removing the director of the Nobles County Library from its executive committee.

"There should be some kind of connection or communication between the library and the Friends," Craun said. "It was brought to my attention that the Friends didn't feel like they were getting information from the library board."

Craun said she felt strongly that there should be formal communication between the Friends of the Library and the Library Board.

Navara said the Friends meetings are open to the public and said all Library Board members are welcome to attend any time.

"But you're not willing it be as part of the executive committee?" Craun asked.

"That's not up to me, that's up to (the Friends)," Navara answered.

After some discussion, the Library Board voted 4-0 that "the Nobles County Library Board have either the director of the library or an appointed member of this board be an ex officio member of the executive committee of the Friends of the Library."

It was not immediately clear if that decision would be binding, as the current bylaws of the Friends of the Library specify the executive committee "shall consist of all four officers, the past chair, and the director of the library."

The Library Board also expressed concern with a second proposed change to the Friends' bylaws, which would change a requirement that its books be audited prior to its annual meeting by a Certified Public Accountant, to a requirement for a member to audit the books.

"It probably is very worthy of having a third party person look at (the books)," said County Administrator Bruce Heitkamp. "... I think that would be the right thing to do."

The board voted 3-0 to recommend the Friends either have a CPA or a financial institution be involved in the auditing process in some other way.

In other news Monday, the Library Board:

* Received updates from Library Director David Bradford that he is still investigating what can and cannot be done to the library's Worthington branch, given requirements of disability laws, the building's historical status and the city of Worthington's requirements for parking.

* Learned about a service called Wowbrary, which automatically generates newsletters and social media posts that can be sent to people who sign up for the service, telling library patrons about new materials, activities and events at the library.

* Heard that the library's passes to state parks have seen significant use recently.

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