Spring Valley SELCO Foundation reps to remain

Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy

The Spring Valley Public Library Board of Trustees had a visitor in Southeast Libraries Cooperating (SELCO) Foundation representative Stu Gross, who appeared before the board with an update on his and fellow SELCO Foundation local representative David Foster, whose terms with the foundation have come to expiration once more.

Gross highlighted he and Foster had represented Spring Valley on the SELCO Foundation’s board since the foundation’s beginning in May 2004. The foundation serves as a depository for donations and memorials to the Spring Valley and other libraries in the SELCO system that collaborate to invest and garner returns on funds earmarked for each library.

“It’s your choice if you would like to replace Dave and I, because both our terms are up,” he informed the library trustees. “We would accept it without any problem whatsoever, but if you don’t have anyone in mind, we would go on with another three-year term. The SELCO Foundation…right now, I think we’re managing about a quarter of a million dollars. These are monies that the libraries are depositing in CDs. Each individual CD might have several libraries in it, and money is set aside so if something comes up that a library needs to have $3,000 tomorrow, we can do that. We meet four times a year, so if there’s a CD coming up that needs to be renewed, we usually give our director directions to invest in the best one she can find.”

Board members inquired as to whether there have been increased donations from the Spring Valley area, and Gross replied that there have been some.

“What’s happening is instead of folks making the check out to the Spring Valley library, they’re making it out to the SELCO Foundation, which is important,” he said. “That goes into a spot where it’s earning a very minimum at first, and then it’s grouped with other donations.”

Board chair Lori Schlitter noted, “It wasn’t as apparent when I first came on the board.”

Library director Jenny Simon said, “We have some that make it out to ‘Spring Valley Public Library-SELCO Foundation.’”

Board members spoke briefly about how to encourage donors to give their honorariums and memorials to the foundation instead of directly to the library because of the foundation’s ability to invest the funds and multiply the returns, then board member Rita Bezdicek made the first motion to approve Gross’s and Foster’s reappointment to the foundation, with board member Karen Cleveland seconding and the rest of the board giving their approval.

In building maintenance and safety matters, Simon related she had spoken with Spring Valley Fire Chief Brian Danielson, who conducted a site visit at the library, discussing the fire alarm system and other mechanical installations. She then referred to the library’s vexatious exterior covering that has begun to chip and crack off the building and for which she has had very little luck finding someone who can offer a feasible option for exterior insulation and finish system (EIFS).

“For the EIFS, I made a call to the building inspector that (city administrator) Deb (Zimmer) made a recommendation for us to call, and from what his business secretary said, it’s a matter of time and mileage, and maybe the next time he comes this direction he can stop in,” Simon said. “The building is not at risk – it’s sturdy and safe – so when we get all our ‘Is’ dotted and our ‘Ts’ crossed, we’ll get to work on this. This is a busy time of the year.”

She added, “We would love to have a volunteer from the community if anybody is willing to assist us with fixing our landscaping near the fire exit. We don’t plan to plant at this point, but we would like to get the landscaping back in the ground.”

The library’s staff has had to deal with the truth of offenders using the library as a place to look for vulnerable people, and because of that, Simon felt it was appropriate to allow two area organizations to host a self-defense class there this past Wednesday evening.

“Yennie Martial Arts and Mission 21 had a class together last night where they first educated women – it was a class for women – and they educated us about sex trafficking and human trafficking, and we moved on to a self-defense part of the class where they taught us about martial arts,” Simon explained. “I would bring the program back again when it’s not during school because what they really want to target are the kids who are being targeted, girls 12 through 20, and I would love to bring that back when our school isn’t diving into end of year or graduation. The self-defense is extremely empowering. All these black belts were there helping us to get our form right. We’ve had issues with sex trafficking here before…they’re the people right under our noses sometimes, and we’re trying to do what we can to keep people safe. I’m going into further training, too.”

Before bringing the meeting to a close, she reported on the upcoming children’s summer reading program and the recent William Kent Krueger author visit. All of the reading programs are booked and “we feel really good and are really excited about our summer program,” she said. She also pointed out that 64 people attended Krueger program, “a great success.”

The board expressed its appreciation to the Spring Valley Area Community Foundation for its grant for books to give to children and to Schlitter for her memorial to the SELCO Foundation honoring her mother, Elaine Nerdig.

The Spring Valley Public Library is open Monday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday from noon to 7 p.m., and the first and third Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, stop in at the library on Jefferson Street, just behind First National Bank off Broadway, or call 507-346-2100.