Minutes of the regular meeting of Thursday, January 19, 2006.

(As approved amended February 16, 2006)

The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, January 19, 2006 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.


The meeting was called to order by President Higueras at 4:09 pm.


Commissioners present: Chin, Coulter, Gomez, Higueras, Kane, and Strobin.

 A quorum was present. Commissioner Bautista was excused attendance.


The Commission Secretary announced that Rosie Scott would be leaving the Library to take up new duties at the Public Utilities Commission and lauded her invaluable contributions to the successful operation of the both the City Librarian’s and the Library Commission Office.




Supervisor Bevan Dufty, District 8, informed the Commissioners about his January 23rd Resolution at the Board of Supervisors to rename a portion of 16th Street between Pond and Prosper Streets to honor Jose Sarria, a pioneer leader in the LGBT Community and the first openly gay man to offer himself as a candidate for public office in the United States in 1961. Supervisor Dufty then discussed the renovation of the Noe Valley Branch Library.


An anonymous member of the public spoke about: their opposition to the Friends of the Library; how by a self-serving theory of operation “good people” create the basis for many of the evils in our society.


Ms. Barbara Berman, Friends of the Library, called attention to upcoming Friends sponsored events in particular citing a January 23rd lecture by Kate Michelman, and this year’s annual observance for writers and authors who passed away in 2005.


Ms. Katy Gough thanked the City Librarian for his support for the Bernal Heights branch Library; noted that many in the neighborhood supported keeping the branch library solely as a library despite bullying; reported that she had met with Supervisor Ammiano and had been informed that his resolution was a recommendation and that he had been surprised by the neighborhood’s response to it.



Mr. Paul Cantus, East & West of Castro Street Neighborhood Association, urged additional funding be added to the project budget and commented the long delay in beginning the Noe Valley Branch Library’s renovation; noted that it’s staff the key to its successful operation suffered from overcrowded working conditions; and said that if necessary funds should be taken from other projects to fund this one.


Ms. Ellen Egbert, a Bernal Heights Branch Library representative on the Council of Neighborhood Libraries (CNL) and a Bernal Heights resident, commended the City Librarian, the two Commissioners, and Library staff who attend the recent community meeting on the Bernal Heights Branch Library renovation; and called attention to the heavy use of the branch by the entire neighborhood citing a recent Chinese New Year’s Lion Dancers event and a children’s program.


Ms. Kimberly Jones, an architect and Noe Valley resident, urged the Commissioners to find the necessary money and go forward now with Noe Valley renovation as planned.


Mr. Jack Lester, 25 year Noe Valley resident: commented that the Noe Valley Branch Library staff were critical to success of this Branch Library and needed more workspace to do their jobs well; and noted that as the economy improved more resources should be devoted to project such as this that maintained San Francisco’s civic infrastructure.


Lavern Fisher, a 25 year Bernal Heights resident: supported retaining the branch facility for library use; thanked City Librarian Luis Herrera and Margaret Brodkin of the Department of Children Youth and their Families for their leadership on behalf of the Bernal Heights Branch Library; noted that any further delay would be costly; and urged the Commissioners to listen to reason not emotion and not give in to sabotage. Ms. Fisher reported that Supervisor Ammiano had informed her that his resolution was intended only to be advisory.


Mr. Peter Warfield commented on: privacy concerns with system of self pick up and check out of reserves; and asked for more information on the proposed book and seating counts in the renovated Noe Valley Branch Library.


Mr. Mauricio Vela of “Stop the Eviction”: asked to show a video of families demonstrating opposition to the relocation of the City College Pre-school Program from the Bernal Heights Branch Library as part of his public comment, and pointed out that this dispute had deepened divisions in the community. Mr. Vela also complained that he had not been allowed to place information on the table at the Community meeting and suggested that a supporter of the Library had been harassing the preschool’s students.


Ms Roseanne Liggett, Bernal Heights civic activist and Branch Library user: found Mr. Vela’s comment offensive, accusing him of mudslinging against those who disagreed with him; and thanked the City Librarian for his leadership on behalf of neighborhood library;  and urged the Commissioners to retain  Branch for library services only.


Mr. Bill Sorro, 25 years Bernal Heights Neighborhood resident, criticized the Commissioners for their lack of leadership on this issue; and expressed his strong support for the return of Preschool to the Branch Library, noting that in his view this was just the most recent example of services being taken from low income people of color leading to their being driven from the community.


Janet Tolliver, a Noe Valley parent of two and Branch Library user, requested speakers to refrain from coarse language, noting children were present; and requested that the Commission take action to get Noe Valley Branch Library renovation project as planned underway as quickly as possible.


Mr. Kimo Crossman urged that the Library make copies of public comments offered at its meetings available online; announced his nomination of James Chaffee and Peter Warfield for an award; and criticized the City Attorney’s Office.


President Higueras announced that Agenda Item #3 Noe Valley Branch Library would be taken up out of order ahead of the approval of the December 15, 2005 Minutes in order to accommodate the large number of members of the public in attendance to hear this item. 





BLIP Manager Marilyn Thompson presented a detailed report (copy attached) discussed the background to and current situation facing the planned renovation of the Noe Valley-Sally Brunn Branch Library. Ms. Thompson concluded by presenting the Commissioners with three options, to rebid the project; to increase the budget and award the contact as previously  presented, or to go back and redesign the project again. City Librarian Herrera then outlined his recommendations that the Commission act to increase the budget for this project in order to meet the Branch Library Improvement Program’s goals; to maintain the standard of excellence the Commission and the Library had set for the program. Mr. Herrera noted that the proposed re-design would not satisfy either the public services or ADA, (Americans with Disabilities Act) access needs of this branch. The City Librarian recommended that the Commissioners approve an increase of $825,000 to the budget for the Noe Valley Branch Library Renovation Project and proceed with the renovation a previously presented. Mr. Herrera then outlined the next steps in the Library’s 06-07 Budget process and indicated that it would include his recommendation for transfer of $2.3 million from the Library’s Budget reserve to increase the Branch Library Improvement Program Budget Reserve to $5 million. These actions, he indicated, had been discussed with both the City Attorney and the Controller and found to le appropriate, and would keep the Branch Library Improvement Program going forward and maintaining its high standards of excellence.




Mr. Patrick Boscovich, a Jersey Street neighbor of the Noe Valley Branch Library, called attention to the risk in not acting to seismic retrofit the UMB (unreinforced masonry building) structure of the Library, and said he believed the legal deadline for completing this work was February 4, 2006. Mr. Muscovich urged that the Commissioners take action to move forward with the planned renovation now.


Ms. Ruth Ann McKern, a Noe Valley resident, called the Commissioners’ attention to the cramped back of house and staff workspaces in the Branch Library, recommending going forward with the planned renovation that provided more and better staff working spaces. 


Ms. Georgia Schuttish, suggested that given recent experience with other Bond Program Projects it would be better to spend a bit more now on the Noe Valley Branch Library than much more later for a lesser renovation, and urged that the Commissions act to move the renovation project forward now as planned.


Ms. Leslie Crawford, a Noe Valley Branch user and on behalf of her children, Molly and Sam recommended that the Commission not delay the renovation further but go forward now,  so that the renovated branch library would soon again be available to serve the many children in the neighborhood.


An anonymous member of the public commented on the costly history of previous branch library renovations such as at the Chinatown Library, and wondered at the impact of these budget changes on the projects such as Park Branch not yet begun. This person noted that high seismic risk status of the Noe Valley Branch required action but found problematic taking $2 million from the Library Preservation Fund to do so.


Mr. Peter Warfield noted that the Noe Valley, as a high seismic risk structure, was among those identified to have priority to be fixed to the voters. Mr. Warfield also found troubling the proposed transfer of funds from the Library Preservation Fund (LPF) instead of being used as he suggested for more books and open hours.


Ms. Debra Neiman, a Noe Valley neighbor, discussed the 17 years history of the community’s efforts to cooperate with the Library in the effort to get their Branch Library renovated, and urged that the Commissioners spend the money to increase the budget as needed so that the renovation project could get underway as the community wished.


Ms. Joan Jackson, Noe Valley-Sally Brunn Branch Library representative on the Council of Neighborhood Libraries, noted the two year long delay in beginning this project and suggested had it begun as originally scheduled there might not have been the financial problems that existed now, observed that further delay could cost only more; and urged the Commissioners to act to go forward with the planned renovation now. 


Ms. Kim Drew, Co-Chair of the Friend’s Neighborhood Capital Campaign for the Noe Valley Branch remarked concerning the potential for negative impact on their fundraising efforts if there were any further delays in getting this project underway.


Ms. Judith Levy-Sandier, calling attention to the central role the branch library played in the neighborhood, recalled the work of the late John Brunn, and urged the Commission to go forward with the renovation as planned.  


Mr. Randal South, an out of town visitor to the Library, inquired about access to computers for visitors without a local library card; was informed that access was available; and was assisted by staff in locating them.


Ms. Jessica Wheeler urged that the Commission go forward with the renovations of the Noe Valley Branch Library as planned.


Ms. Joya Van Zandt asked concerning the fate of the trees located between 24th Street and the front of the branch expressing the hope that they could be retained. Ms. Van Zandt also noted that it was not being inconsiderate for staff at the Branch Library to ask parents to quiet noisy children.


Mr. David Broadwin, a 15 year Noe Valley resident, noted that the Branch Library was central to the community, and that his neighborhood was passionately involved in its renovation. Mr. Broadwin decried incremental planning and delays as costly to the branch library’s renovation and urged there be no further delays.


Ms. Donna Bero, Executive Director of the Friends of the Library, commended the Commissioners for their careful consideration of this issues and making the difficult decisions necessary. Ms. Bero indicated that the Friends supported the recommendation to go forward with the renovation of the Noe Valley Branch Library as planned; and reminded the Commissioners that the Friends had already pledged $500,000 toward this renovation project. 


Supervisor Bevan Dufty concluded the public comment on this item recommending that the Commission act to go forward with the planned renovation of the Noe Valley Branch as proposed. Supervisor Dufty expressed support for the Library’s proposed use of reserve funds for this purpose, and called attention to steps underway to create a better process to avoid future problems of this nature. Supervisor Dufty noted that there was no reproach to the Library for this situation and commended creativity in seeking a solution that moved this project forward.




Vice President Coulter discussed the difficult choices facing the Commission as each of the project’s costs continued to escalate. The Commission Vice President inquired about and was informed concerning how the proposed transfer of funds from the Library Preservation fund (LPF) to the Branch Library Improvement Program Budget Reserve was vetted by the City Attorney and the Office of the Controller.  Vice President Coulter lauded the Friends offers of assistance in expanding fundraising needed and urged that any possible other sources of funds be sought. In response to a question by the Commission Vice President concerning possible reductions in the level of historic preservation finishes; Architect Nancy Goldenberger responded and reassured the Commissioners that the historical integrity and finishes of the beautiful Carnegie Building would not be diminished by proposed cost savings measures that she discussed.    


Commissioner Larry Kane speaking as a neighbor and regular Noe Valley Branch user observed that further delay was unacceptable and would only lead to greater costs later. Commissioner Kane noted that the planned renovation would do this project the right way and that he supported going forward.


Commissioner Jewelle Gomez, noted concern about the impact of these increased costs on other BLIP projects, but found any additional delay a burden on the community. Commissioner Gomez said the Library would simply have to take on the burden of identifying the additional funds needed to complete the Bond Program.


Commissioner Strobin agreed that it was time to go forward with this project and expressed support for doing so.


Commissioner Chin inquired concerning the potential impact of the building’s being landmarked and was informed by Ms. Thompson that the renovation project was planned and conducted as if the structure already had the landmark status that would certainly be granted to it. The BLIP Manager noted that there were cost saving exemptions allowed historic buildings and that this project was being done to the best preservation values. Commissioner Chin called attention to the community’s commitment and recalled the important contributions made by the late Sally Brunn to both the Library and our schools. Commissioner Chin noted that it was essential to preserve equity among all of the neighborhood projects co0ncsidering the needs of the whole city. Commissioner Chin noted that this branch renovation needed to go forward as the building was unsafe. 


President Higueras hailed the commitment of the Community to its branch library and while noting that there was good reason for caution but going forward with this project while a price was locked in made sense. President Higueras commended Ms. Thompson for her skill in meeting each project’s individual needs while keeping sight of the overall program’s goals. The Commission President noted that this would be the highest per square foot cost project in the Bond Program and mused on the explosive increases in construction costs in the past two years. President Higueras said it would be the Library’s task to find funds needed to complete the obligations of the Bond Program.  City Librarian Herrera noted that the Branch Library Improvement Program was a once in a generation opportunity to improve out library system. The City Librarian observed that this Library was the center of its community. Mr. Herrera recommended that in light of the fact that that delay would likely increase rather than reduce costs, that the Commission support the proposed $825,000 budget increase for this project’s budget  and the related reduction by half of funds in the BLIP Program Budget Reserve. 


MOTION: by Vice President Coulter 2nd Commissioner Strobin to approve the proposed $825,000 transfer of funds to the BLIP Reserve to increase the budget for the renovation of the Noe Valley Branch Library as proposed.


ACTION: 6-0 AYE (Chin, Coulter, Gomez, Higueras, Kane, and Strobin)


President Higueras called for a recess at 6:14

Commissioner Gomez left the meeting during the recess

The Commission returned to session at 6:28pm.







Mr. Kimo Crossman found inaccurate the Minutes report of his comments about the Library’s Satisfaction Survey and concerning the availability of documents.


An anonymous member of the public said that these minutes crossed the line from inaccuracy to misrepresentation, and suggested that there was differential treatment in the reporting of public comment, citing the brevity of  some reported comments, and suggesting that Mr. Warfield ‘s comments were misrepresented.  


Mr. Peter Warfield spoke concerning unfair differential treatment in the reporting of some public comment, pointed out that he had specifically included the name of a book

Spychips” about RFID technology that was not reported, and noted his comments were intended to highlight that the Library’s holdings on RFID were exclusively online.


Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #2 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF DECEMBER 15, 2005


Vice President Coulter noted that the Commission had regularly highlighted the reports, comments, and discussion of items in its meeting minutes when a Commissioner had requested that it be done.  Commissioner Chin noted she preferred that meeting minutes in general to only summarize what took place in a meeting.



MOTION: by Vice President Coulter, 2nd by Commissioner Strobin for approval of the Minutes of the regular Public Library Commission meeting of December 15, 2005.


ACTION: 5-0 AYE (Chin, Coulter, Higueras, Kane, and Strobin)





Marilyn Thompson, Branch Library Improvement Program Manager represented her usual monthly reports on: the BLIP Schedule; the current Budget; and new and renovation projects Construction Reports, (copies attached). Ms. Thompson reported expenditure or encumbrance of the Bond Program Funds to date.


Ms. Thompson noted that no informational report would be presented at this meeting, Ms. Thompson updated the Commissioners concerning each of the current Branch Library Improvement Program’s active projects: new construction; renovations; presented detail of ongoing construction, and discussed recent and upcoming BLIP community outreach activities, (copy attached).





An anonymous member of the public commented: that this report illuminated the previous discussion; that saying yes now meant saying no later; that there was a need for an overall status update on where the Bond Program was; and about their views concerning the allocation of Library Preservation Fund monies to the Bond Program.


Ms. Ellen Egbert, a longtime Bernal Heights resident, thanked the City Librarian, MS. Thompson, and Library Staff for the presentations made at the Bernal Heights Community meeting noting that what the Library proposed to renovate the Branch Library should now be clear to all.


Mr. Peter Warfield commented: about his disappointment with use of the phase,” cannot afford” in connection with the Bernal Height Branch renovation; requested information concerning the before and after statistics regarding seating and book collects as the branches were renovated; and asked what was happening to the books from branches that were currently closed.


                  Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #4 BLIP MANAGER’S REPORT


In answer to questions by President Higueras, the Deputy City Attorney presented a brief overview of the status of library facilities located on Recreation and Park Department properties.  In response to other questions by President Higueras, Ms.

Thompson reported that the staff were carefully monitoring the work being done at the mixed used facility that will house the new Glen Park Branch Library. In answer to a query by Commissioner Chin, Ms Thompson outlined how Library projects found worthy of funding in the third phase of Prop. 14 (State Library Bond) would be given priority consideration for 50% of the proposed new Bond funds authorized by SB 11 61 (Prop. 81) to be voted on in June. In response to questions regarding the status of the Eureka Valley Branch Library renovation, Vice President Coulter reported that he and Commissioner Gomez had met with Supervisor Dufty to discuss this situation, noting that it seemed that a source of funding for the proposed mixed use project had not yet been identified.





MOTION: Commissioner Kane, 2nd by Commissioner Chin nominated President Higueras and Vice President Coulter to be elected and continue to serve as President and Vice President of the Public Library Commission in 2006. No other nominations were offered.





An anonymous member of the Public commented on the importance of taking Public

Comment on matter of such importance to the Commission.


Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #5 NOMINATION OF




President Higueras thanked his fellow Commissioners for their expression of confidence and noted his pride in serving as a good steward of Library. Vice President Coulter accepted his nomination to continue in office as Commission Vice President in 2006 and thanked his colleagues for their expression of support.


ACTION: 5-0 AYE (Chin, Coulter, Higueras, Kane, and Strobin)





MOTION: by Commissioner Higueras 2nd Commissioner Chin to adjourn the regular January 19, 2006 Public Library Commission meeting In Memoriam of the late John Brunn, in recognition of his community and civic leadership on behalf of the Noe Valley/ Sally Brunn Branch Library, named in honor of his late wife.



Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #4 ADJOURNMENT


Ms. Joan Jackson, Noe Valley Branch Library representative on the Council of Neighborhood Libraries, noted that the late Mr. Brunn had been a equal partner with his

Late wife Sally in their years of community activism on behalf of the Branch Library, work that Mr. Brunn continued after her passing.


ACTION: AYE 5-0 (Chin, Coulter, Higueras, Kane, and Strobin)


The Commission meeting adjourned at 7:124PM.


Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 1/17/06


Please note: Amendments to this Minutes are in an alternative typeface. 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).



BLIP Program Manager’s Report slides

BLIP Program Budget, Schedule, and Construction Reports

Tabulation of Bids –Noe Valley Branch Libraries

Noe Valley Branch Library – Frequently Asked Questions

Noe Valley Branch Library revised floor plans December ‘05

Carey & Co. Letter







            Minutes of the Library Commission Meeting January 19, 2006

                                          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.