This is the second in a series of articles aimed at defining boards and commissions, learning the names of their hard-working volunteers, their major past accomplishments and what they have planned for the near future.
Fenton City Library Board
The city of Fenton Library Board is charged with the operation and development of rules of procedure and use, of the library, buildings, and grounds, subject to any contracts for joint operations with other library systems. The Library Board makes recommendations regarding changes to, and maintenance to the library building, ground, and furnishings.
“We have had many successes in recent years,” said Chairwoman Roberta “Bobbi” Sweetman. “The DDA along with private donations from citizens and The Friends of the Library completed a renovation of the entire building a few years ago. We were very proud that we were able to maintain the historic integrity of the building while still upgrading the technology available to patrons and refreshing the decor for their pleasure and comfort.
The DDA’s contribution for the renovation was $317,000 and there were also donations from citizens and the Friends.
“Last year, we were happy to be able to purchase ‘The Librarian’ statue which was done completely with private donations from citizens,” Sweetman said. “Along with the community, we did have some support from the DDA in the purchase of the statue.
“We also dedicated the Mrs. Blue Shoes Garden last year. This garden was also provided by private donations in memory of Pamela Hennig, who played Mrs. Blue Shoes for many years as a volunteer reading to Fenton’s children.
“As for the future, in 2019, the city is planning to complete a new parking lot on the east side of the building and a new roof will done this year, also. We also hope to complete an extension of the Blue Shoes garden on the west side of the building this year or, perhaps, next year depending on available funds.”
Sweetman said the board is interested in receiving applications for board membership from “library lovers.” If anyone is interested, they may get an application from the Library or from the City Office. All applications are reviewed and approved by the City Council and then referred to the Board.
Current board members include: Sweetman (chair), Donald "Skip" Bancroft, Sonia Kelso, Sonja Melrose, John Strayer and Councilwoman Nancy Draves. There are three vacancies on this board. Chris Heron, librarian, also reports on activities and programs presented by and in the library each month, and Kelly Flynn, community relations manager for the Genesee District Library also attends board meetings.
The city of Fenton Museum Board works in cooperation with the Fenton Historical Society, and make recommendations to the City Council regarding establishing the hours of operation, staffing, and rules of procedure for the city’s museum. They maintain complete records of all artifacts donated or loaned to the city for display in the museum. They also gather information from local, state and national organizations in the area of museums and museum services and keep the City Council informed about funding opportunities and developments regarding museums.
The Museum Board also makes recommendations to the City Council regarding changes to, and maintenance of the museum building, grounds, and furnishings. The board also serves as liaison between the Fenton Historical Society and the City Council. It works with the Fenton Historical Society, a nonprofit organization, to provide the best level and quality of museum services possible to the community.
In discussions with Leo Doan, chairman of the Library Board and one of the curators, Connie Foley, City Councilwoman and board member Tracy Bottecelli said, “We have noted three major accomplishments in recent years.
“Most recently the museum collaborated with Linda Blanco from the Bayview Club. The Club had made a $200 donation to update the landscape in the front and side yards at the museum. Last spring, the board and Linda updated the landscape per her design work and in the fall planted tulips as well.”
Secondly, the attic storage area has been reorganized to better identify acquisitions not currently on display and determined items that may be sold in the future, Bottecelli said.
The project of continuing digitization of acquisitions, utilizing the museum acquisition software purchased from a Fenton Community fund grant the museum received, is ongoing. The project currently includes the donated clothing. This is a huge project, which will better identify the acquisitions in the museum.
The continued work on the digitization project which is a huge undertaking. Also, the city has recently taken bids to purchase “sorely needed” new carpeting, for the front room of the museum.
“The A.J. Phillips Historical Museum is a hidden jewel in our city,” Bottecelli said. “The vision of the Museum Board and the volunteers, who put in countless hours, is to create a space that, not only preserves the history of Fenton, but becomes a true history community center through the provisions of a community friendly space. It is a space that encourages more community participation and educates through programs and a rotating display highlighting Fenton’s history and accomplishments.”
The public is invited to visit the Museum, 301 S. LeRoy, across from the police station on Sundays, from 1 to 4 p.m.
Current board members are Leo Doan (chair), Donna Seger, Kenneth Seger, Matt Adair, Kim Wheeler, April Parillo and Councilwoman Tracy Bottecelli.