STATE OF HAWAII
BOARD OF EDUCATION
Queen Liliuokalani Building
1390 Miller Street, Room 404
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Thursday, January 16, 2020
Catherine Payne, Chairperson
Brian De Lima, Esq., Vice Chairperson
Bruce Voss, Esq.
Daniella White (student representative)
Captain Lyn Hammer (military representative)
Stacey Aldrich, State Librarian
Alison Kunishige, Executive Director
Kenyon Tam, Board Analyst
Regina Pascua, Executive Secretary
Irina Dana, Secretary
I. Call to Order
The Board of Education (“Board”) Special Meeting was called to order by Board Chairperson Catherine Payne at 8:30 a.m.
II. *Public Testimony on Board of Education (“Board”) Agenda Items
Board Chairperson Payne called for public testimony. There was no public testimony at this time.
III. Discussion Items
A. Update on State Librarian’s evaluation for the 2019-2020 School Year: mid-year review of progress on State Librarian’s Priorities
Board Chairperson Payne stated that the Board adopted a new State Librarian evaluation process on August 15, 2019, which mirrors the Superintendent evaluation process with a few key differences. Board Chairperson Payne detailed that the professional standards in the evaluation process are specific to the State Librarian and are based on the American Library Association’s description of required skills for library directors and multiple public library director evaluations from across the country. She noted that the State Librarian evaluation process also does not have a formal step for adjusting priorities based on student academic data. She stated that the final difference is that the timeline for the State Librarian evaluation process is purposefully staggered from the Superintendent evaluation process to allow the Board to focus on one evaluation at a time.
Board Chairperson Payne stated that materials related to the mid-year review of progress on the State Librarian’s priorities are attached as Exhibit A in the Board’s meeting materials. She stated that the Board could review and discuss each priority and provide Stacey Aldrich, State Librarian, with feedback and comments. Board Chairperson Payne welcomed Aldrich to respond to the comments.
Board Chairperson Payne reviewed Aldrich’s first priority to create and implement a more robust strategy to get patron input and feedback. She detailed that the first indicator is for Aldrich to create a new, effective, and user-friendly structure for online submission of patron input and feedback. The second indicator is for Aldrich to design and implement a structure across all islands to effectively get in-person patron input on library services and programs. The third indicator is for Aldrich to create a comprehensive report to submit to the Board with a sufficient review of the in-person patron input and an adequate description of how the Hawaii State Public Library System (“HSPLS”) will use patron input to improve its services and programs.
Aldrich stated that she would appreciate the Board’s input and asked if Board members had any questions regarding public libraries. She stated that HSPLS could incorporate Board members’ input and questions into its feedback process to collect information that was of interest to Board members.
Board Chairperson Payne asked if HSPLS is creating one system to implement across the state or reviewing ways in which to create different systems dependent on communities libraries serve. Aldrich stated that HSPLS is reviewing one system as well as different systems. She detailed that HSPLS is reviewing how to conduct focus groups and provide patrons with opportunities to submit feedback online. She emphasized the importance of speaking with patrons to determine what is working and what they would like to see more of.
Board Vice Chairperson De Lima commented that HSPLS’s website and online applications are user friendly. He detailed Aldrich’s second priority regarding the implementation of a new statewide service philosophy with training and coaching for all staff and asked if HSPLS is collecting feedback for its service philosophy survey. Aldrich explained that this is a separate survey and is directly related to behavior, for example whether patrons feel welcome in public libraries. She explained that the survey she was initially referring to asks patrons about their experiences in public libraries, for example what kinds of resources they would like and what kinds they are using. Aldrich explained that she was asking for feedback regarding what kinds of questions the survey could ask patrons that would provide Board members with information that is of interest to them. Board Vice Chairperson De Lima asked for clarification. Aldrich explained that survey for the first priority is separate from the survey for the second priority. The service philosophy survey helps set a baseline for the current level of service. HSPLS then plans to develop a survey for patrons to provide feedback based on the behaviors that HSPLS identifies as important for fulfilling its service philosophy. HSPLS will run the survey again to measure progress one year after training. Aldrich noted that the second indicator for the first priority allows HSPLS to gather broad feedback regarding types of services and resources.
Board Vice Chairperson De Lima emphasized the importance of diversity of choices for patrons. He asked if patrons are using Microsoft academies. Aldrich stated that HSPLS discontinued Microsoft academies in October because Microsoft changed its interface. She highlighted that HSPLS offers other free courses for patrons who are interested in learning how to use different programs and is launching “Grow with Google,” which provides patrons with tools. She further highlighted that Google has made grants available to HSPLS.
Board Member Kaimana Barcarse commented that libraries in rural areas on Hawaiʻi Island play an important role in communities. However, some patrons are unable to access libraries due to transportation challenges. He asked how HSPLS would account for individuals who lack internet and transportation access as it collects feedback and conducts focus groups. He emphasized the importance of HSPLS hearing all voices and noted that elderly individuals might prefer to interact with paper materials rather than internet resources. Aldrich explained that HSPLS is determining how to create more opportunities and reviewing partnerships with schools and local organizations. She stated that she would need to have discussions with staff on Hawaiʻi Island to determine how to reach individuals who lack daily access. She stated that libraries provide opportunities for connections and explained that HSPLS is attempting to balance physical and digital resources. She detailed that research shows that reading paper materials is more beneficial than reading digital materials. Research also shows that parents who read paper books to children engage more than parents who read digital books. Aldrich stated that HSPLS would continue to provide paper materials and is reviewing how it could be more accessible.
Board Member Voss emphasized the importance of printed materials and physical spaces. He asked how HSPLS is engaging potential patrons, such as users who have been inactive or not gone to a library in a long time. He stated that engaging potential patrons relates to Aldrich’s third priority to create a cohesive methodology for acquiring and maintaining physical and electronic materials. Aldrich stated that HSPLS has had many conversations regarding potential patrons. She stated that staff tells potential patrons about resources and programs available at libraries. Aldrich stated that one of HSPLS’s biggest issues is marketing. She explained that patrons are unaware of resources and opportunities available at libraries. Aldrich highlighted that HSPLS has discussed marketing strategies, attended various community events, and conducted outreach. However, HSPLS would need to continue to focus on marketing.
Board Member Cox asked about the status of HSPLS’s partnership with local schools and next steps and strategies for partnerships. She emphasized library resources available to teachers and the importance of libraries and schools working together. Aldrich stated that the extent to which schools and libraries work together depends on the school and community. She highlighted that libraries help students every day by providing afterschool spaces, devices for students to use, and books for students to read. Aldrich noted that some HSPLS staff work closely with schools and teach students about available resources, programming, and databases. Aldrich stated that statewide initiatives might help libraries and schools develop closer partnerships. She noted that summer reading programs might be a good way in which schools could encourage students to read and visit libraries. She highlighted that this year’s summer reading program theme is creativity. The theme encourages story telling through art and music and focuses on more than just reading. She stated that an initiative schools and libraries simultaneously agree on might help both sets of staff to make connections.
Board Member Cox asked if schools invite HSPLS to beginning of the school year presentations and meetings. She stated that principals are the key to partnerships between libraries and schools because if principals understand the importance of public libraries then teachers are more likely to understand as well. Aldrich highlighted that the Department of Education invited HSPLS to attend meetings with complex area superintendents and further highlighted that HSPLS has discussed attending principal meetings to discuss library resources available to students.
Student Representative Daniella White expressed appreciation for HSPLS and stated that students prefer physical materials because they are always using digital resources. She noted that students seek out printed textbooks in libraries. Student Representative White stated that partnerships relate to Aldrich’s third priority. She detailed pathways and career academies, including education and teaching pathways, and suggested that HSPLS offer students with programs related to their pathways, such as programs where older students could work with children receiving special education services or volunteer to read to younger students. She emphasized the importance of HSPLS marketing existing and available programs. Student Representative White agreed that it would help to develop partnerships if HSPLS were to attend meetings with principals. She noted that students typically communicate through digital formats and social media and suggested that HSPLS communicate available resources and opportunities through media to reach students.
Aldrich reviewed HSPLS’s partnerships. She stated that HSPLS was considering holding a contest related to media. Student Representative White emphasized the importance of incorporating media and suggested that HSPLS could hold art and essay writing contests to engage students. Aldrich discussed current library events and potential ideas regarding art galleries. She stated that HSPLS has discussions regarding how it could engage and encourage communities to use library spaces.
Board Chairperson Payne highlighted that legislators recently complimented Aldrich and HSPLS’s initiatives. She detailed that a library in Kaneohe partnered with a service center and legislators to provide individuals experiencing homelessness with outreach, showers, and so forth in the library’s parking lot. Aldrich stated that HSPLS discussed opportunities and partnerships and ways in which it could assist communities.
Aldrich asked about the format for her evaluation. Board Chairperson Payne stated that Aldrich’s final evaluation would include more specifics. She stated that she appreciated that Aldrich described work in progress in the Board’s meeting materials and shared her ideas with the Board.
Board Chairperson Payne stated that Aldrich asked for the Board’s feedback in identifying questions HSPLS staff could ask in its survey and focus groups and earlier Board members discussed the importance of paper materials. Board Chairperson Payne stated that it would be limiting for HSPLS to solely provide feedback surveys online. She stated that HSPLS should ask the same questions in its focus groups and digital surveys. Board Chairperson Payne asked if libraries have suggestion boxes. Aldrich confirmed that most of the libraries have some form of a suggestion box.
Board Member Voss commented that Aldrich would provide her progress, plans, cohesive methodology, and so forth during her final evaluation. He asked if Aldrich could also include links so that Board members could review summaries of conducted surveys, explanations of how HSPLS decided on and asked survey questions, and HSPLS’s plans for acquiring physical and electronic materials.
Aldrich stated that HSPLS is trying to engage as many people as possible and noted that sometimes the process takes longer than originally thought. She stated that HSPLS is working toward meeting deadlines but noted that it might take longer to meet main targets. Aldrich detailed that HSPLS would like to build the expertise of its staff through its service philosophy. She stated that HSPLS’s goal is to ensure consistency and ensure that patrons feel welcomed. She noted that the process and collection development might take longer.
Board Member Kili Namauʻu stated that she was a potential patron who began to visit libraries more often. She agreed that HSPLS needed to improve its marketing to communicate opportunities and resources available to communities. Board Member Namauʻu agreed with the idea of a contest for students and suggested that the contest could ask students to create artwork to promote activities occurring in public libraries. She added that HSPLS could provide students with a list of activities for students to highlight through their artwork.
Board Member Namauʻu asked about HSPLS’s new leadership team. She asked if HSPLS has the opportunity to hire new employees or recruit volunteers. Board Member Namauʻu detailed that she visited Kihei Public Library. She noted that the library was innovative but might need volunteers. Board Member Namauʻu asked if there are opportunities for HSPLS to recruit volunteers to assist with stacking books and helping with collections. She asked if HSPLS has a process for volunteering or issues due to a lack of staff and training. Aldrich highlighted that administrative staff are working well together and bonding. She noted that there HSPLS hired several new individuals. She highlighted that there were many changes this past year. Aldrich detailed that HSPLS changed its rules this past year to make it easier for individuals to volunteer. She noted that it is sometimes difficult to implement new rules or processes because individuals are used to upholding old rules and processes. Aldrich stated that HSPLS’s future goal is to have a robust volunteer program so that individuals with various skillsets could volunteer and assist in areas of need.
Board Member Namauʻu asked about the status of signage in Hawaiian in libraries. Aldrich detailed that five libraries have posted signage in Hawaiian and additional libraries are starting to develop signage as well. She stated that HSPLS is focusing on having signage in libraries that were closed and reopening and in communities with higher percentages of Hawaiian language speakers. She highlighted that staff and librarians are working on identifying colors, items, and languages that represent communities. Aldrich stated that HSPLS would need additional help with words and developing new signs that patrons would like to see. She stated that patrons have been questioning some signs and HSPLS needed experts to review and assist with translation. She stated that HSPLS would eventually like to have signage in Hawaiian in every library.
Board Member Takeno commended Aldrich’s efforts to evolve HSPLS and adapt to the needs of patrons. He referenced Aldrich’s earlier request for Board members to provide feedback and stated that he would like for Aldrich to include metrics of utilization in certain areas in the development of the survey and determine how to use these metrics to set a baseline for patrons’ thoughts and experiences. Board Member Takeno referenced HSPLS’s website and commented that HSPLS could set metrics regarding pages patrons are visiting and interests and align this with HSPLS’s training and coaching philosophy. He stated that HSPLS could do the same in terms of its maintenance of physical and electronic materials to review interest in current services and determine future services. Aldrich detailed that data has not been well-organized and HSPLS is reviewing structures in which to review data. She stated that HSPLS has basic data for its online system but has a new tool that would help manage online data more effectively so that HSPLS could create reports for different variations. Aldrich detailed that in the previous year HSPLS had 499,000 requests for holds and filled about 40%. She explained that patrons are unable to place holds on books not yet in the system. Aldrich reviewed collection management efforts and stated that HSPLS is reviewing a tool that would be able to show which genres are most popular with patrons at each branch. She stated that HSPLS is reviewing how to put together information in an interesting way so that everyone could review HSPLS’s efforts and how patrons are using resources.
Board Member Takeno commented that library staff might have insight on how their libraries are servicing patrons. He stated that HSPLS could use this insight to review which resources are most helpful for patrons and whether certain processes or systems should be more robust. Aldrich commented that HSPLS currently engages library staff for collection development.
Board Chairperson Payne commented that it is difficult to set dates for when things will occur amidst culture change and noted that everything is always a work in progress. She stated that HSPLS has changed over the years under Aldrich’s leadership and highlighted that Aldrich includes staff in collaborative activities, asks questions, and responds to questions. She stated that it takes time for individuals to adjust to new processes.
Board Vice Chairperson De Lima commented on the expiration of library cards. He stated that patrons need to show valid identification and provide a mailing address in order to acquire a library card. He stated that members open accounts online and create a pin number. Board Vice Chairperson De Lima asked if members with online accounts provide e-mail addresses. Aldrich explained that HSPLS does not have online applications available as of yet but is working toward being able to provide individuals with the opportunity to apply for a library card online. Board Vice Chairperson De Lima emphasized the importance of collecting e-mail addresses and sending out information via e-mail and commented that patrons could receive current information quickly if HSPLS requires them to provide an e-mail address when opening an online account. He stated that HSPLS would need to determine how to communicate with individuals who do not have a library card nor an e-mail address. Aldrich stated that HSPLS is particular about privacy and working on changing online applications. She noted that HSPLS would like to ask individuals if they would like to receive information via e-mail prior to sending information. She noted that most patrons who have e-mail addresses use it to receive messages regarding renewals and hold pick-ups. She noted that she believes patrons would like to know about occurring activities and programs. Aldrich highlighted that the Legislature is determining how to provide each district with information on a monthly basis and HSPLS could include its activities, programs, and other information in this newsletter. Aldrich stated that there are many channels of information and many ways in which patrons receive information. She noted that HSPLS attempts to use as many channels as possible to communicate with communities but all of the different variations make it complex.
Board Chairperson Payne adjourned the meeting at 9:18 a.m.