Minutes of the regular meeting of Thursday, January 5, 2006.
(As approved February 2, 2006)

The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, January 5, 2006 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.


The meeting was called to order by Vice President Coulter at 4:06PM.


Commissioners present:  Bautista, Chin, Coulter, and Gomez.

Commissioners excused: President Higueras, and Commissioner Strobin. Commissioner Kane’s arrival was expected. A quorum was present.






An anonymous member of the public spoke about: implications of insider status and deficiencies in our legal system, the privileged status of corporations; and  noted that libraries represented human values.


Mr. John McAfee, Friends of the Library, discussed: the Western Addition Branch Capital campaign, highlighting a cooperative community partnership with the Jewish Children & Family Services Agency to renovate the Branch Library’s surrounding grounds.


Ms. Mildred Hall-Ward, an after school Program Coordinator and member of the Friends, working on the Western Addition Branch Library Neighborhood Capital Campaign lauded the planned renovation of the Branch Library and suggested the designated Branch Manager’s Office space be redesigned for other uses.


Ms. Ellen Egbert, Bernal Heights Resident, spoke concerning her thoughts about the January 11th Community meeting on the revised designs for the Bernal Heights Branch Library renovation.


Mr. Peter Warfield spoke about: the strengths of the Library; commenting that improvements both in staffing and collections should be a common goal.





Commissioner Kane joined the meeting at 4:14pm.




An anonymous member of the public commented on: an error in the Approval of the Minutes Title, mischaracterizations of Mr. Warfield’s Public Comment; and about the legal requirements to summarize public comment in meeting minutes.


Mr. Peter Warfield commented on: the value and importance of minutes; the Sunshine Ordinance’s requirement to summarize public comments; and clarified hat his reported comments were intended to highlight the limited availability of materials related to RFID in the Library’s collection.




Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #2 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF DECEMBER 1, 2005


Vice President Coulter requested inclusion of the names of all of the members of the Library Technology and Privacy Advisory Committee not just those who spoke.


MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, 2nd by Commissioner Gomez for approval of the Minutes of the regular Library Commission meeting of December 1, 2005 with addition of the names of all of the members of the Library Technology and Privacy Advisory Committee.

ACTION: 5-0 aye (Bautista, Chin, Gomez, Kane, and Strobin)




Chief of the Main Library Kathy Lawhun briefly discussed the Library’s

Business, Science, and Technology Center and then introduced its Reference Service Manager Mark Hall. Mr. Hall presented a detailed overview of the various program focuses of the Business, Science, and Technology Center especially calling attention to it’s extensive array of classes, reference resources, small business resources and information, and job and career development public services programs.




An anonymous member of the Public commented that this report appeared to blur the distinction between what collections and services were part of an affinity center and those parts of a department of the Library.


Mr. Peter Warfield commented: that affinity centers were concerned with fundraising and that this report concerned the Business Department of the Library; noted the importance of Library collections and documentation; and suggested creation of more “pathfinders” to assist Library users interested in accessing services of interest to them.


Ms. Christine Lieshman, Friends of the Library, a regular user of the center’s resources, commended Mr. Hall and the services available through the Business Science, and Technology Center.




Commissioner Gomez thanked staff for their excellent report and noted that she had friends who had used and praised the Business, Science, and Technology Center when beginning their own businesses. 


In response to a question by Commissioner Bautista, Ms. Lawhun noted that there was considerable outreach by the Teen Librarians to and use of the Center by public school students.


Commissioner Chin inquired concerning the available of center materials and training classes in Spanish and Chinese and was informed that while available in Spanish Chinese language programs and materials were provided through the Library’s International Center as well as online. Commissioner Chin suggested that staff work with Chinese American and other minority community groups active in youth employment and training program to create new partnerships and broaden its outreach.


In response to a question by Commissioner Bautista concerning involvement with the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, Ms Lawhun noted that there had been a relationship in the past and that the Business, Science, and Technology Center regularly provided copies of its information to the Chamber


Vice President Coulter praised the report as enlightening; observing that the reported relationship between cooking school students using the Business, Science, and Technology Center’s resources and its supportive role in the creation many of San Francisco’s new restaurants was a good story that should be told. Vice President Coulter noting there was a new President and Executive Director at the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce suggested pursuing closer relationship with the Chamber of Commerce. Vice President Coulter pointed out that the affinity centers were about a great deal more than fundraising, and that they served to engage dialogue and build creative partnerships between the Library and San Francisco’s diverse communities.


Commissioner Bautista expressed her thanks and appreciation to staff for their worthy efforts to decorate the Main Library during the recent holiday season.




City Librarian Herrera announced Mayor Newsom’s appointment of San Francisco’s new Poet Laureate would be made on January 12th The City Librarian next announced the retirement of Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood, commending Mr. Underwood’s exemplary leadership and dedicated public service as Deputy City Librarian and as Acting City Librarian. Mr. Herrera noted that Mr. Underwood would be returning to the Library as a returning retiree to assist part-time during the search for his successor. City Librarian Herrera then announced that Library Chief of Information Technology Vivian Pisano had been selected to become Deputy Director of the Berkeley Public Library. The City Librarian commended her leadership, teamwork, and creativity in gaining critically needed resources for the Library during her seven year s of service at the Library. The City Librarian lauded Ms. Pisano’s skill in obtaining E-rate funding, successfully competing for  several “Gates Grants” for technology services, and her important role in keeping the Library in the forefront of Information Technology services.


City Librarian Herrera re-ordered his presentation to next report on some upcoming programs and exhibitions at the Library leading off with a February 8th literary program, “Open Books”, featuring Andrew Lam in discussion of the Vietnamese Diaspora, then on February 9th, a “The Women of the Beat Generation” discussion featuring noted women writers. Noting that February was annually observed as “Black History Month”, the City Librarian called attention to programs highlighting African American culture beginning on February 15th with” Beautiful Diversities” with Poet Frederick Smith and Poet/Commissioner Jewelle Gomez; and with a February 23rd African American Authors and writer’s Forum “Speaking through the Page”; and in addition on February 25th a n “African American Authors and Writers Speak” Program.  The City Librarian also reported on children’s programs being held in observance of Black History Month.

Next, the City Librarian called attention to new genealogy databases “Heritage Quest Online” and “Ancestry Online” recently acquired by the Library, and lunchtime, “Research Your Roots”,

Programs designed to assist and familiarize users with their uses. Additionally, the City Librarian called attention to upcoming exhibits including “African American Inventors”, a “City College is your College” exhibit honoring the 70 year history of City College of San Francisco. Mr. Herrera concluded by calling attention to “Book Works 2006” the Pacific Center for the Book Arts’ annual exhibition of the best of the book arts in the Bay Area.


The City Librarian then introduced Library Chief Financial Officer Jay Manglicmot, who presented a preliminary overview (copy attached) of the City and Library’s 2006-07 Budget situation and the next steps in this year’s Library budget process. The City Librarian then outlined several categories of importance discussed in the preliminary report. Mr. Herrera then reported several recommendations being considered for funding by staff. Mr. Manglicmot then concluded his report by outlining the next steps in the budget approval process.




An anonymous member of the public offered congratulations to Mr. Underwood and Ms. Pisano; found the budget report lacked sufficient detail to be more useful than reading tea leaves; expressed concern that there were proposals for upgrades and enhancements everywhere except to augment the book collections in this reported  good financial situation.


Mr. Peter Warfield congratulated those who were leaving; found the City Librarian’s presentation on programs & exhibits interesting; expressed concerned with the reported Library Budget priorities. Mr. Warfield then cited his view that Prop E’s priorities required more books and hours and suggested addition of more Sunday hours with part of the available money.


Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #4 CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT


In response to a query by Commissioner Kane about the MOU costs, the City Librarian noted that he anticipated that there would be a significant impact on the Library’s budget this year when the final figures became known. Commissioner Kane urged consideration of finding efficiencies in existing programs to provide addition funds for other needs such as additional public services hours.  


Vice President Coulter found the preliminary report in general good news, thanked the Friends for their leadership in the adoption of Prop. E that made it possible, and cited good management of these funds as being critical in maintaining the Library’s fiscal health. The Commission Vice President noted the importance of keeping clear focus on careful management of the Branch Library Improvement Program.


Commissioner Bautista congratulated and thanked Mr. Underwood and Ms. Pisano for their important contributions to the Library. Vice President Coulter suggested that the Commission formally recognize Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood’s service and offered congratulations to Ms. Pisano as she takes up her new duties.





Ms Barbara Berman, Friends of the Library, wished the Commissioners and Library staff a Happy New Year. Ms. Berman then called attention to upcoming Friends of the Library sponsored programs including a Kate Michelman lecture in conjunction with the Commonwealth Club on January 23rd. Ms. Berman also called attention to the upcoming 4rth Annual “Writer’s Remembered” Program honoring writers who had passed away during the past year and this year’s 10th Anniversary Library Laureates Dinner.


Ms. Christine Lieshman, Friends Capital Campaign for Neighborhood Libraries, discussed her work with the Western Addition; Sunset; West Portal; and Ingleside Branch Library communities. Ms Lieshman noted that the Western Addition Committee had been very active, appreciating and supporting the great collections related to neighborhood history at the Branch. Ms. Lieshman also noted as a source of support its famed Japanese language collection, said to be the largest in Northern California. Ms. Linda Suzuki, Western Addition Branch Library Manager, reported that the community was very excited about planned renovation and its proposed improvements to their branch library. Ms. Suzuki noted many ongoing activities to support the Capital campaign




An anonymous member of the public urged non-support for Friends; and noted a lack of report on the “public comment “fund.




Vice President Coulter, and Commissioners Bautista, and Chin thanked and commended the Friends of the Library for their leadership and hard work.




Ms. Kathy Lawhun presented a background report demonstrating the popularity and success of the Library’s Self-Check out of Reserves Program (copy attached). Ms. Lawhun noted that use of reserves had expanded dramatically from 1000 in March 2000 to 16,000 at the Main Library and 68,000 system wide in March 2005. Ms. Lawhun attributed the increase to the combination of the 1999 elimination of the .25 cent reserve fee and new online systems allowing users to manage their own borrowing. Ms. Lawhun noted that a staff Task Force had been called together to address the issues raised by the increased demand that had impacted staff  and make recommendations  to handle the increased amounts of materials. She noted that many topics were involved and that many ideas were still undergoing development to develop a comprehensive system to process these materials.  The Chief of the Main Library reported an 85% pick up rate with the new system. Ms. Lawhun reported that as branches, first at Ingleside Branch, then Mission Branch, then at the re-opened Excelsior Branch, and more recently at Anza, and at the Golden Gate Valley Branch were brought into the new system, users were vocal in support of the new system. The Chief of the Main Library reported that 18, 211 reserves were shelved and available at the first day the self –check out system was offered at the Main Library in August and that demand and user expressions of support for Self Pick Up and Check Out of Reserves continued strong. The City Librarian cited this situation as a good example of staff responding with efficiencies that provided enhanced public service and wiser use of library resources.  Mr. Herrera noted that this detailed explanation was warranted by expressions of concern by members of the public about risks to user privacy through use of this system.




Melissa Riley, Librarian’s Guild, spoke about privacy concerns with the self-check out of reserves voiced by union members, members of the public, and library professionals; suggesting there may be other ways that privacy concerns could be minimized.


An anonymous member of the public criticized adoption of this system, found there were many unanswered questions about it, and decried what this person described as a use of non-scientific survey to justify offering what they found to be less service.


Mr. Peter Warfield asked about previous system wide use figures and strongly criticized use of this system as a betrayal of the Library’s legal and ethical responsibilities to preserve user privacy.


Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #6 SELF PICK-UP OF RESERVES


Commissioner Kane suggested perhaps posting notices to make users aware of privacy concerns.


Commissioner Gomez lauded staff’s efforts to continue to tweak the system to better preserve the anonymity of those using the Self Pick Up and Check Out Process, and suggested that there may be far more serious threats to user privacy. Commissioner Gomez urged the critics of this system to offer suggestions for improvement rather than simply just criticize it. 


Commissioner Bautista suggested gathering comment from users about their privacy concerns and making changes if found to be needed.




Melissa Riley, Librarian’s Guild, continued discussion of concerns with the self-check out of reserves noting that it was becoming an issue among librarians nationwide, that she felt it a professional duty to discuss this issue further,  and suggested there could be  alternative ways this kind of service could be provided with undermining the profession.









Mr. Peter Warfield lauded Ms Riley’s expression of concern, suggested there was not universal support for this system, that it did not serve the visually impaired, and that it violated the spirit if not the letter of the Library’s ethical duty to protect user privacy.


An anonymous member of the public urged that the Commissioners look at the full  picture encourage presentation of dissenting views, and always seek to benefit from careful consideration before going forward.


Omission discussion of AGENDA ITEM # 7 LABOR UNION REPORT


Commissioner Chin recommended comparing differing systems and finding possible ways to minimize risks and retain service gains.


Commissioner Gomez noted that dissenting views were always welcomed and suggested use of non-name systems to identify reserves for self pick up.

In response to questions, the Chief of the Main Library reported that this or similar systems for self pick up and check out of reserved materials were in wide use in major urban libraries across the country and that there was no controversy concerning its use.




Commissioner Bautista inquired about use of photographs of Library art holdings and architecture and was informed that a photographic brochure was available.


Commissioner Chin called for a discussion of a policy concerning what constituted appropriate use s in public library buildings, noting that lack of such a policy had allow development of the situation at the Bernal Heights Branch Library.


Public comment on AGENDA ITEM # 8 NEW BUSINESS


An anonymous member of the public applauded the suggestions, noting that it was always useful to review  information made available, and suggested that the questions regarding use should have been addressed in the Library’s Strategic Plan.


Mr. Peter Warfield, expressed support for the suggested agenda items and expressed his views that computer users were given superior treatment that those who actually visited the libraries.


Commissioner Bautista left the meeting at 6:40pm.




MOTION: by Commissioner Chin 2nd Commissioner Gomez to adjourn the regular December 1, 2005 Public Library Commission meeting in memoriam of the late Architect of the Main Library James Ingo Freed , who recently passed away.


Vice President Coulter recalled Mr. Freed’s outstanding career and accomplishments as an architect and fondly recalled working with him, pointed to the beauty of the Koret Auditorium where the meeting was being held as an exemplar of his talents, and noted his perseverance despite the challenges of living with Parkinson’s disease.




Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #9 ADJOURNMENT


An anonymous member of the public noted that Mr. Freed had been a distinguished architect who had made major contributions.


ACTION: AYE 4-0 (Chin, Coulter, Gomez, and Kane)


The Commission meeting adjourned at 6:58pm


Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 1/13/05


Please note: Copies of Commission Minutes and handouts are available in the Office of the Commission Secretary, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102


Explanatory documents: Copies of listed explanatory documents are available as follows: (1) from the Commission Secretary/Custodian of Records, Main Library, 6th Floor, (2) in the rear of the Koret Auditorium immediately before and during the meeting, and (3)to the extent possible, on the Library's website at

Additional materials not listed as explanatory documents on this agenda, if any, that are distributed to the 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 §§ 67.9, 67.28(b)& 67.28(d).





Fiscal Year 2006-07 Budget Planning Report

Report on Self Pick-Up of Reserves (12-1-05)



  Minutes of the Library Commission Meeting December 1, 2005

                                          Appendix A


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


These summary statements are provided by the speaker. Their contents are neither generated by, nor subject to approval or verification of accuracy by, the San Francisco Public Library Commission.