WORTHINGTON — Communication between the two groups has been an issue, but the Friends of the Nobles County Library and the Nobles County Library Board plan to work on it in the future, sending representatives to each other’s meetings when needed.

“I don’t think it would be monthly,” said Pete Navara, of the Friends. “Could we notify you when we would want to be on your agenda?”

Kathy Craun, who attended the Friends meeting Thursday as a representative of the Library Board, agreed, noting that Library Board meetings are open to the public, too.

The Friends of the Nobles County Library is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that incorporated in 1989 with the intent of supporting the library’s needs. Its meetings, too, are open to the public.

Craun gave the Friends an update on the Nobles County Library’s new strategic plan, which was compiled by contractors Library Strategies.

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During their information gathering process, Library Strategies found that the community as a whole was happy with the library, liking the location, loving the staff and feeling comfortable there. Both library users and non-library users were interviewed, including those who used the recently-renovated Adrian branch library and those from the Worthington area. Craun said the data revealed people generally did not want a new library in Worthington, but also that space was a concern.

Craun notified the Friends that Library Director David Bradford said he would not attend future meetings of the Friends of the Library.

The Friends of the Library voted Thursday to change its bylaws, removing the library director from the Friends executive committee.

Other changes to the bylaws included decreasing the size of committees, removing a restriction on serving consecutive terms, making meetings quarterly rather than monthly and having multiple Friends audit the organization’s books rather than an independent CPA. The change in auditing drew some concern from the Library Board at its meeting earlier this week, and is intended to save the organization the costs of hiring independent accountants.

Changing the bylaws has been in the works since 2019, Navara said.

Karen Magyar of the Friends said she had always liked having the library director at Friends meetings, and that there had been “disagreements with David (Bradford)” and the Friends, but she said she was reluctant to exclude the library director entirely.

“We’ve always gotten along with the directors,” said LeAnne Meyer of the Friends. “I’ve never seen us not.”

The Friends did agree to remove the line in its bylaws that made the library director a member of the executive committee, but also agreed that a Library Board representative would be welcome to share information at Friends meetings.

Craun said Bradford also did not intend to request any funds from the Friends for the library in the future.

“Something that I’m very uncomfortable with is that David, or the head of the library, isn’t going to request money from us,” Magyar said. “Because I think that’s what we’re here for — to fund special programs and books and such, and the fact that he can’t ask us is just — I don’t like that.

“It’s not that he can’t. It’s that he chooses not to,” said Judi Hoevet, of the Friends.

Cheryl Avenel-Navara noted the Friends funds were only meant to be supplemental, and that if the library was fully funded, in theory, Friends money would not be needed.

Craun explained that because there were gaps between library directors, some of the money normally used on that salary could be used to fill out the library’s budget, and that the Nobles County Board of Commissioners had rolled over the library’s funds from that time.

The next meeting of the Friends of the Library was scheduled for 5:05 p.m. Jan. 13, 2022.