SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION

Minutes of the regular meeting of Thursday, January 4, 2007

(As amended and approved at the regular meeting of February 1, 2007)

The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, January 4, 2007, in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.

The meeting was called to order at 4:34 PM by President Higueras who announced that agenda item #5: Branch Library Improvement Program (BLIP) Report would be postponed to a future meeting.

Commissioners present:  Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Gomez, Higueras, and Munson.  Commissioner Kane arrived at 4:36 PM.

AGENDA ITEM #1: PUBLIC COMMENT

Andrea Grimes, librarian and union steward, read a statement regarding the life and recent death of writer Tillie Olson and requested that this evening’s meeting adjournment be made in her memory.

Tim Himes, co-chair of the Richmond District Libraries Campaign Committee, provided the commission with letters supporting full funding for Richmond Branch Library renovation, and described Richmond community involvement with the branch.

The anonymous citizen pointed out that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was a former library commissioner, spoke in opposition to public/private partnerships in the library, drew parallels with Watergate and Vietnam, and speculated whether members of the Library Commission received gifts of liquor.

Barbara Berman, San Francisco writer and library advocate, urged the commission to make Richmond Branch renovation a top priority.

Ron Miguel, president of Planning Association for the Richmond, commented on soaring construction costs nationwide and recalled the community process for planning Richmond Branch renovation.  He encouraged the commission to commit to implementing the full original plan when renovating Richmond Branch.

Sherrie Rosenberg provided a letter in support of Richmond Branch renovation and urged the Library Commission to minimize delays by allocating funds so that renovation can begin as soon as possible.

Ruth Maginnis, retired Richmond Branch librarian, explained the importance of the branch in the community and voiced support for fully funding its renovation.

Adam Berger, Richmond neighborhood resident, spoke in support of the branch’s renovation.

Peter Warfield recalled Tillie Olson’s library activism.  He congratulated Speaker of the House Pelosi, expressed concern that branch facilities with poorest seismic-safety ratings have not been renovated, and requested an update on planning for adding Sunday open hours at branches.

President Higueras expressed gratitude to members of the Richmond community in attendance and to those who submitted letters, and he offered assurance that the commission is examining every option in hope of being able to deliver the full renovation as originally designed.

AGENDA ITEM #2:  APROVAL OF THE MINUTES

The anonymous citizen inquired about placement of his citizens summaries in the minutes and noted that his summaries did not appear in the draft minutes, decried the lack of detail in the minutes, and offered examples of what he perceived to be their shortcomings.

Peter Warfield spoke in favor of including citizen summaries in the minutes and offered examples of what he perceived to be their shortcomings.  He noted that he had characterized the recent ABC-7 report as an unfair slam against the library and that this comment was omitted from the minutes.

Commissioner Chin requested that her remarks in item #6 be clarified by removal of the words “and she suggested that commissioners limit themselves in their discussion and amending of minutes.”

Deputy City Attorney Catherine Barnes pointed out that citizens summaries would appear in the commission’s final minutes but need not be included in the draft minutes since the commission did not have authority to amend or remove them.  She agreed to work with the secretary’s office to resolve the issue of web posting.

Commissioner Coulter requested that Peter Warfield’s comments regarding the ABC-7 news report be added to the minutes.

MOTION: by Commissioner Chin, seconded by Commissioner Bautista, to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of Thursday, December 7, 2006, as amended.  Approved by the following vote:  7 – 0; Aye: Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Gomez, Higueras, Kane, and Munson.

AGENDA ITEM #3: CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT

City Librarian Luis Herrera welcomed Catherine King, curator in Exhibits and Programming, who presented an overview of the exhibit “If They Came for Me Today: The Japanese American Internment Project” scheduled to open in the Main Library on January 13.   She pointed out that the San Francisco History Center has created a companion exhibit to run concurrently drawn directly from the library’s collection, and that the library will feature a variety of related programs.  Mr. Herrera commended the collaboration between the public schools and the library in presenting the exhibit.

Chief of Children’s and Youth Services Toni Bernardi introduced librarian Margot Kavanagh who described the library’s services for incarcerated youth.

Chief of Main Kathy Lawhun offered an update on renovations occurring in the Main Library as a result of recommendations made in the post-occupancy evaluation (POE).  She reported on service reconfigurations necessitated by the construction work, and noted that updates will be posted on the library’s web page, and that she will keep the commission informed as the project continues.

The city librarian expressed appreciation for Ms. Lawhun’s leadership and for staff’s efforts to ensure that public service will continue to be offered with minimum interruption despite the logistical challenges of operating during major construction work. 

Mr. Herrera highlighted upcoming library exhibits and programs for adults and children.

The anonymous citizen offered comments on the library’s performance measures and called attention to an article in the Bay Guardian regarding Sunday hours at the Public Library. 

Peter Warfield urged that additional documentation be provided to the public regarding the POE projects, expressed concern that no performance measures dealt with bond status, and recounted concerns about Sunday open hours.

In response to questions from President Higueras, Mr. Herrera offered to seek additional ways to convey to the public information previously presented at commission meetings regarding POE projects.

Commissioners Chin and Bautista expressed appreciation for staff efforts at Juvenile Hall and encouraged even closer cooperation between the schools and library.  Commissioner Gomez praised the work of Youth Speaks and WritersCorps.

The city librarian expressed his intention to coordinate the library’s performance measures with the budget process, and indicated that he will bring a plan for additional Sunday hours to the commission at a future meeting.

AGENDA ITEM #4: FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY REPORT

Marian Chatfield-Taylor expressed gratitude to individuals involved in the Richmond Branch renovation project.  She reported on the Friends’ bookstore at Fort Mason Center, the branch campaign, and offered a handout describing Poets Eleven.

The anonymous citizen stated that one of his goals for 2007 would be to expose the Friends, and he cautioned against corporate philanthropy.

Commissioners Bautista and Chin lauded the efforts of the Friends, and Commissioner Chin presented them with a personal contribution.

AGENDA ITEM #5: BRANCH LIBRARY IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM (BLIP) REPORT

Continued to a future meeting

AGENDA ITEM #6: AMENDMENT TO COMMISSION BYLAWS

Commissioner Coulter departed the meeting at 6:09 PM. 

Acting Secretary Richard Walsh reviewed the proposed amendment to the bylaws that had been continued from the previous meeting. 

The anonymous citizen questioned whether the proposed amendment would achieve the mayor’s goal for meeting attendance and suggested that it be rewritten.

Peter Warfield surmised that the proposed amendment would permit commissioners to accumulate excessive numbers of excused absences, and he pressed for creation of a public document that would detail commissioners’ attendance at meetings.

Commissioner Munson countered that he found the amendment to be sufficient, and President Higueras agreed that it satisfied the mayor’s request.

In response to a question from Commissioner Bautista regarding meeting days, Deputy City Catherine Barnes pointed out that Section 4 in Article VII of the bylaws states: “A change in the date, time, and/or place of Commission meetings shall not require an amendment of these Bylaws.”

MOTION: by Commissioner Munson, seconded by Commissioner Gomez, to amend Library Commission Bylaws, Article III, Section 6 to conform to the Attendance Policy adopted at the Library Commission meeting held on November 16, 2006.  Approved by the following vote: 6 – 0; Aye: Bautista, Chin, Gomez, Higueras, Kane, and Munson.

AGENDA ITEM #6: ELECTION OF COMMISSION OFFICERS FOR 2007

MOTION: by Commissioner Munson, seconded by Commissioner Kane, that President Higueras be nominated as president.

MOTION: by Commissioner Chin, seconded by Commissioner Kane, that Vice President Coulter be nominated as vice president.

The anonymous citizen congratulated the nominees.

Peter Warfield inquired whether the officers would report commissioners’ absences to the mayor’s office.

President Higueras recalled that he was approaching his 12th year on the Library Commission, and he expressed gratitude to the other commissioners for their support and service to the Public Library.

MOTION: by Commissioner Munson, seconded by Commissioner Kane, that President Higueras be reelected as president and that Vice President Coulter be reelected as vice president.  Approved by the following vote: 6 – 0; Aye: Bautista, Chin, Gomez, Higueras, Kane, and Munson.

AGENDA ITEM #8: LABOR UNION REPORT

Melissa Riley, representing the library’s labor unions, encouraged everyone present to read a section of Tillie Olson’s writing aloud to reacquaint themselves with the author’s significant and gracious legacy both as an artist and activist. 

AGENDA ITEM #9: NEW BUSINESS

Commissioner Bautista proposed that the commission calendar a resolution commending Nancy Pelosi upon being selected as speaker of the House of Representatives.

President Higueras proposed future discussion of creating two committees to replace the second full-commission meeting each month, one to focus on the bond and physical plant, and the second to deal with matters of policy, planning, and finance. 

Commissioner Munson proposed that the commission consider the library’s performance measures on a quarterly basis.

Commissioner Bautista proposed that the commission consider security measures and exterior lighting at the Main Library, and the city librarian stated that the perimeter lighting is on track for this year and that he would make a report at a future meeting.

The anonymous citizen urged the commission to regularly review the library’s performance measures, and he spoke in support of returning to a committee structure.

Peter Warfield requested that the commission acknowledge the anonymous speaker’s institutional knowledge in any future commendation of Speaker Pelosi, and he voiced support for the Library Commission returning to a committee structure.  Mr. Warfield urged continued discussion and clarification of the library’s performance measures as suggested by Commissioner Munson.

AGENDA ITEM #10: ADJOURNMENT

The anonymous citizen recalled Tillie Olson’s past attendance at Library Commission meetings and her generosity towards him.

Peter Warfield expressed support for the commission adjourning in memory of Tillie Olson, and he recounted her efforts in preserving the card catalog.

MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Chin, that the regular January 4, 2007, meeting of the San Francisco Public Library Commission be adjourned in memory of Tillie Olson.  Approved by the following vote: 6 – 0; Aye: Bautista, Chin, Gomez, Higueras, Kane, and Munson.

The meeting adjourned at 6:44 PM.

Richard Walsh

Acting Secretary

January 8, 2007

Please note:  These are draft minutes subject to revision by the Public Library Commission.  Copies of commission minutes and handouts are available in the office of the secretary of the San Francisco Public Library Commission, 6th floor, Main Library, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102-4733.

 

Explanatory documents:  Copies of listed explanatory documents are available as follows:  (1) from the commission secretary/custodian of records, 6th floor, Main Library; (2) in the rear of Koret Auditorium immediately prior to, and during, the meeting; and (3), to the extent possible, on the Public Library’s website http://sfpl.org.  Additional materials not listed as explanatory documents on this agenda, if any, that are distributed to library commissioners prior to or during the meeting in connection with any agenda item will be available to the public for inspection and copying in accordance with Government Code Section 54954.1 and Sunshine Ordinance Sections 67.9, 67.28(b), and 67.28(d).

The Public Comment Summary Statements included in these minutes are authorized by San Francisco Administrative Code Section 67.16.

Public Comment of An Anonymous Citizen
San Francisco Public Library Commission Meeting, January 4. 2007
Item 1:
Public Comment
“Stop the Hate! Stop the Ignorance! Don’t Give Money to the Friends & Foundation. Don’t Accept Money from the Friends & Foundation.
This is January 4, 2007, and we now have a former San Francisco Library Commissioner second in line of succession to the presidency of the United States. It may represent other firsts as well.
What about the case of Jim Beam from the Public Comment Fund?
This may be the year when the citizens of San Francisco finally understand that a public library needs to be truly public and that being run by a public-private partnership is unclear on the concept.
This is the year Ms. Hildreth would move to Tucson to get away from.
For bureaucracies, accountability is more loathed than the sins themselves. Watergate and Vietnam taught us that.
This library spent six months demanding an audit and a post-occupancy evaluation and the subsequent period insuring that the accountability never happens again.”

Public Comment of An Anonymous Citizen
San Francisco Public Library Commission Meeting, January 4, 2007
Item 2:
Approval of the Minutes — December 7, 2006
“Stop the Hate! Stop the Ignorance! Don’t Give Money to the Friends & Foundation. Don’t Accept Money from the Friends & Foundation.
Just over a week ago I delivered to the Secretary, citizen summaries what according to the Sunshine Ordinance are supposed to be “included” in the minutes.
Copies distributed by mail, at the meeting and to the commissioners did not include my summaries in any sense of that term.
The secretary has not responded to my request for a definition of the term.
Your city attorney will tell you that a federal code, 42 U.S.C. 9501, that gives a right to a reasonable explanation does not apply here, but following the purpose of the law, it should apply everywhere. One wonders how you can approve these minutes.
For example, the “opposition to the Friends” was instead opposition to the Commissioner policy that sitting in the chairs the Friends had paid for criticism was inappropriate.”

Public Comment of An Anonymous Citizen
San Francisco Public Library Commission Meeting, January 4, 2007
Item 3:
City Librarian’s Report
“Stop the Hate! Stop the Ignorance! Don’t Give Money to the Friends & Foundation. Don’t Accept Money from the Friends & Foundation.
I appreciate Commissioner Bautista’s candor. At least she is honest [saying that summaries should not be included].
Graphic presentations from the public, as from the staff, would be nice.
The Board of Supervisors held a hearing on the Public Library’s performance measures, along with other departments. The City Librarian was wise enough not to say that a future performance measure would be, number of citizens removed in handcuffs. The supervisors asked that the Controller follow up regarding perceived deficiencies in the measures.
There was a major article in the Bay Guardian regarding the failure to provide Sunday hours. I was shocked that it was not provided to you by your staff. Supervisor Mirkarimi also expressed his frustration regarding the lack of Sunday hours and called it unequal.”

Public Comment of An Anonymous Citizen
San Francisco Public Library Commission Meeting, January 4, 2007
Item 4:
Friends of the Library Report
“Stop the Hate! Stop the Ignorance! Don’t Give Money to the Friends & Foundation. Don’t Accept Money from the Friends & Foundation.
You may remember that last year the Friends & Foundation had a poster describing the extent to which they undercut private bookstores. Perhaps it was removed because I used it in one of my presentations to the Board of Supervisors. In any case, it is no longer there.
One of my goals for 2007 is to expose the Friends & Foundation to such an extent that even Ellen Egbert will be ashamed to give them money. But, Ms. Egbert’s program is that she will give them money no matter what.
Across society people are starting to understand that corporate gifts inherently, in every sector of our society, are an infection. Public goals are undermined by corporate gifts. That awareness will feed an awareness of the Friends & Foundation.”

Public Comment of An Anonymous Citizen
San Francisco Public Library Commission Meeting, January 4, 2007
Item 6:
Amendment to Commission Bylaws
“Stop the Hate! Stop the Ignorance! Don’t Give Money to the Friends & Foundation. Don’t Accept Money from the Friends & Foundation.
This does reflect your prior resolution and has been announced correctly. The only thing to screw up is the date and true to form, you have screwed that up.
But, is this the policy you want to have? The Mayor has a goal of 100% attendance or at least 90% attendance. This policy reflect a goal of 33%. The city attorney states that has been signed off on by the Mayor, but it is not indicative of his public expression.
I think it should be amended to reflect that publicly disclosed standard.”

Public Comment of An Anonymous Citizen
San Francisco Public Library Commission Meeting, January 4, 2007
Item 7:
Election of Commission Officers for 2007
“Stop the Hate! Stop the Ignorance! Don’t Give Money to the Friends & Foundation. Don’t Accept Money from the Friends & Foundation.
People who are willing to serve should be congratulated in all circumstances.
So, I congratulate you. Thanks very much.”

Public Comment of An Anonymous Citizen
San Francisco Public Library Commission Meeting, January 4, 2007
Item 9:
New Business
“Stop the Hate! Stop the Ignorance! Don’t Give Money to the Friends & Foundation. Don’t Accept Money from the Friends & Foundation.
I didn’t hear what Commissioner Chin said. I assume she does not want to hear what she does not want to hear.
With regard to performance measures, I should say that the reason Mr. Herrera thinks the discussion was positive is because he left when his part was over and didn’t hear the rest of the discussion.
Performance measures are of the essence of the library and should be reviewed, at least quarterly.
I was in favor of a committee structure the last time we had a committee structure, because it allowed a more intense scrutiny of issues. If we consider the Commission now, it requires a commitment of attendance that I don’t see. But in an ideal world, it allows a level of detail regarding some of these issues.”

Public Comment of An Anonymous Citizen
San Francisco Public Library Commission Meeting, January 4, 2007
Item 10:
Adjournment
“Stop the Hate! Stop the Ignorance! Don’t Give Money to the Friends & Foundation. Don’t Accept Money from the Friends & Foundation.
Tillie Olsen did attend commission meetings during the intense period of discussions regarding the book dumping scandal and the controversy over the card catalog.
As a lover of the old building, she recited from memory the phrase over the old building, ‘May this structure throned on imperishable books, be maintained and cherished from generation for the improvement and delight of mankind.’
This had the effect of wilting the Commission a bit because of her intensity and obvious sincerity.
This will get a laugh and it shouldn’t: I overheard her once being told terrible things about this person ‘Mr. Chaffee.’ When she later inscribed a book to me, she used another name because she could not reconcile what she had heard. This was a despicable thing to do to a sweet old lady.”