Minutes of the regular meeting of Thursday, February 2, 2006.

(As approved amended March 2, 2006)

The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, February 2, 2006 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.


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


Commissioners present:  Chin, Coulter, Higueras, and Strobin

Commissioners excused: Commissioner Kane

 Commissioners Gomez and Bautista’s arrival was expected.

A quorum was present.





An anonymous member of the public voiced their opposition to support for the Friends of the Library; discussed the rationale underlying the Catholic Church’s discipline of clerical celibacy, contrasted the mechanisms of aristocracies and democracies, and noted that public libraries served to break down entrenched power, and discussed Library Commission history related to former Library Commission President James Herlighy.


Mr. Jim Buckley, a neighbor of the Eureka Valley-Harvey Milk Memorial Branch Library, inquired as to the status of a proposed joint use proposal and the planned branch library renovation project and requested that the neighbors be informed of any changes in plans.






An anonymous member of the Public noted that their reported comments lacked detail citing their reported comments concerning insider status related specifically to Commissioner Kane’s position as a member of a well-known law firm. This person noted two issues were not reported in these Minutes, that the Library’s Business, Science, and Technology Center was described as not an “affinity center” and it had no need of funds. This person also found no report under the City Librarian’s Report of a discussion about increased Sunday hours between Commissioner Kane and the City Librarian.


Mr. Peter Warfield commented: these Minutes needed correction, noting the lack of specificity in reporting both his and Librarian’s Guild representative Melissa Riley’s public comments, as well as in Ms. Riley’s Labor Union Report remarks, about the serious issues not just concerns with possible threats to user privacy posed by the Library’s use of self-pick up of reserves as well as his view that there was a problem with privacy breaches through use of the self-pick up of reserves and non-self pick up at some Branches .


Commissioner Bautista joined the meeting at 4:22pm.

Commissioner Gomez joined the meeting at 4:25pm.


Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #2 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF JANUARY 5, 2006



MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, 2nd by Commissioner Chin for approval of the Minutes of the regular Library Commission meeting of January 5, 2006.


ACTION: 6-0 aye (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Gomez, Higueras, and Strobin)





 Friends of the Library Executive Director Donna Bero presented a brief recap of her first year as Executive Director. Ms. Bero then highlighted recent Friend’s programs, including: the annual “Writers Remembered” celebration honoring writers who had passed away during 2005; a program in remembrance of author Hunter S. Thompson;  recollections on the 50th Anniversary of the 1st reading of Ginsberg’s HOWL; a lecture by author and activist Kate Michelman; a recent Hip Hop Poetry event. The Friends Executive Director then discussed the contributions made by the 736 Friend’s volunteers who donated 29,000 volunteer hours in support of our public libraries. Ms. Bero reported on: the active ongoing neighborhood capital campaigns in support of the Branch Library Improvement Program; the support provided to the libraries damaged by Hurricane Katrina; the support provide by the Friends for Library programs such as Summer Reading; and concluded with a reminder about the upcoming 10th Anniversary Library Laureates Dinner. Ms. Bero then introduced Mr. Rand Salwasser, Manager of Book Bay at the Main, who described the great popularity and success of the bookstore’s operation since its relocation to the Grove Street entry five years ago. Mr. Salwasser noted that the Book Bay at the Main had supported numerous author events, and has had sales of over $1, 100, 000, producing significant funds for the Library. Ms. Bero noted that the Book Bay at the Main was so successful that it turned over its 2000 book inventory 28 times last year while turning inventory only two or three times per year was consider very successful for small bookstore.  Mr. Salwasser thanked the Commission and Library staff for their support.




An anonymous member of the public: opposed support for the Friends of the Library; commented on the “public comment” fund; discussed implications of the recent presentation of a new translation of Dante’s “Paradisio” to the Library by author Robert Anderson quoting “anti-hippie” comments found in his fiction. This person self-identified as a “hippie”, suggesting it was commonplace in his generation to do so. This speaker suggested that Mr. Anderson’s views typified the Friends and concluded in rejoinder, “long live hippies”.






                  Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #3 FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY



Vice President Coulter commended the important contributions of the Friends in providing critically important additional resources to the Library, and found the great success gained by the Friends Bookstore amazing.


Commissioner Gomez commended Ms. Bero for a successful first year as the Friends’ Executive Director and lauded the Book Bay at the Main for enlivening and enriching the experience of all who use the Main Library. Commissioner Gomez noted that while she liked hippies, she had not, although of the appropriate generation, identified as one.


Commissioner Bautista thanked the many Friend’s volunteers, who she noted made great and invaluable contributions to our libraries.


Commissioner Chin called attention to the Friends’ providing free books for teachers and thereby supporting public education in San Francisco as well libraries


President Higueras noted that the Friends exist to serve as a fiscal agent to facilitate fundraising and serve as advocates for our libraries. The Commission President honored the Friends’ staff’s exceptional professionalism, and reported that having the Friends made the San Francisco Public Library the envy of other library systems. The Commission President thanked and congratulated Ms. Bero for her highly successful first year as Executive Director of the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.




Chief of the Main Library Kathy Lawhun presented an extensive overview report on the Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) Report response. Ms. Lawhun discussed the now completed 17 Phase I projects noting that the final element, the Signage Project had been finished in April 2005. The Chief of the Main Library then discussed in some detail, (copy attached), the upcoming Phase II First Floor renovations planned for the Main Library.




An anonymous member of the public noted a lack of listed explanatory documents although such documents had been presented; decried the lack of a floor plan of the existing space for comparison; suggested that the combination of check out and registration would to lead to lines and observed they found for those who did not like self-check out functions in this plan diminished public service, wondering how much new public space was being added and if the changes were worth the $5 million cost.


Mr. Peter Warfield commented: that he  approved of the planned expansion of public services areas but complained at the lack of information about book counts; asked about how much of an increase in public access spaces would be created; and noted poor lighting conditions in first stop. Mr. Warfield decried the new compact storage proposed; expressed concern with the proposed automated reserves retrieval system not requested by the POE Report; and found a lack of tracking of specific responses to specific recommendations made in the POE Report. Mr. Warfield also asked about possible impacts on public services during the construction process.


A second anonymous member of the public asked to be provided with an electronic copy of the POE Presentation and requested more details about the book counts.


Ms. Donna Bero thanked and commended Ms. Lawhun and her staff for their hard work and careful planning that had earned the Library a reputation for good management.




In response to a question by Commissioner Helen Marte Bautista, the City Librarian noted that the Phase II POE projects were scheduled to begin in June. 


Vice President Coulter found the plans thoughtful and noted that it was good a decade later to be able to relocate the back office space out of the Main Library and create more public spaces. In response to questions, Ms. Lawhun described the bathroom designs in greater detail.


 In response to questions by President Higueras, Ms. Lawhun discussed the phasing of the interim services and construction, expressing a hope that the plan will be available by the end of May. Ms. Lawhun reported that the proposed redesign would increase the current 7,000 liner feet of shelving to more than 15,000.  The Chief of the Main Library noted that the compact storage would be in addition to this increase in shelving. The Chief of the Main emphasized that the architect Phil Sowers was adhering carefully to maintaining the quality and nature of the finishes and colors to maintain the integrity of the original architectural design.


In response to a question about the match up of the POE Report recommendations to planned work, Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood noted that a report tracking the recommendations of the POE Report with proposed solutions had been previously presented and could be updated.


Responding to a question by Commission Strobin, the Chief of Main Library discussed how the touch screen self-return system would function, noting appropriate signage would follow.


Answering questions by Commissioner Chin concerning the new automated retrieval of reserves system,  Ms. Lawhun described where it would be located and its approximate size, then outlined how he new system would work, and noted that blue was the proposed color choice for the storage bins in the unit.


The City Librarian concluded the discussion by congratulating Ms. Lawhun and her staff for a job well done and noted every effort would be made to minimize disruption during project construction







The City Librarian reported that this was a “good news” Budget and then introduced Library Chief Financial Officer Jay Manglicmot, who presented a detailed report highlighting the Library’s projected revenues and expenditures. The City Librarian then described in detail the various aspects of the proposed budget and concluded the Budget Report with presentation of the specifics of a series of 32 Budget Change Proposals (BCP) totaling $6.1 million that were recommended by staff. (copy attached)


President Higueras called at recess at 5:55pm

President Higueras left the meeting during the recess.

The Commission, chaired by Vice President Coulter who had assumed the Chair, returned to session at 6:06pm.


Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #5 LIBRARY 2006-07 BUDGET WORKSHOP


An anonymous member of the public expressed dismay that President Higueras had not remained to hear public comment; noted mention of the Fuhrman Trust;  and concluded by presenting an historical perspective on the proposed transfer of $2 million from the Library Preservation Fund discussing previous legal opinions regarding  allowed uses of such funds.


Mr. Peter Warfield expressed happiness at the increase in the book budget and wanted more information concerning any enhancements to be made to the Library’s regular book collections, suggested that there were RFID related implications in the proposed designs of the Phase II renovations; and said that he believed self-service to be a potential public service reduction. Mr. Warfield suggested


A 2nd anonymous member of the public questioned the proposed $25,000 expenditures for Wi-Fi improvements at the Library, suggesting that the Library delay improvements to its Wi-Fi capacity until a proposed citywide Wi-Fi System was created. This person had privacy and coverage concerns about the Library’s current levels of Wi-Fi access.


Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #5 LIBRARY 2006-07 BUDGET WORKSHOP


Commissioner Jewelle Gomez commended the proposed increased budget for custodial staff and maintenance, noting that it was essential that these behind the scenes activities be properly funded. Commissioner Gomez commended the Library Custodial staff noting their work was very important. In response to a question, the City Librarian informed Commissioner Gomez that the Library had three delivery trucks. Mr. Herrera noted that implementation of citywide Wi-Fi access was some time off and that it was important to improve the very popular services now available. Deputy City Attorney Catharine Barnes noted that the City’s RFP (request for proposals) for a proposed citywide Wi-Fi access network was very broad and general and that there were a great many unanswered questions and most certainly a very complicated and lengthy process yet to occur before bids for such a system could be sought.  Responding to a question, the Chief of the Main Library clarified that the self-check machines did not include RFID capacity. Commissioner Gomez applauded the planned Privacy Audit.


Commissioner Bautista noted that the needed upgrades in technological infrastructure were critical and lauded efforts to improve the Library Security Services. Commissioner Bautista noted the given the situation facing the Branch Library Improvement Program it was necessary and prudent to act now to add the additional funds to complete the Bond Program as planned. Commissioner Bautista expressed support for the proposed budget


Commissioner Chin expressed happiness that cuts were not necessary and inquired concerning how the Library planned to meet increases in staffing costs anticipated in the coming year. In response to Commissioner Chin’s inquiry, Mr. Herrera outlined how the staff planned to address the anticipated personnel cost increases, increased workers compensation costs, and department personal cost increases


Responding to questions posed by Vice President Coulter, Mr. Herrera reported that there were approximately 700 FTE (full time equivalents) staff positions at the Library. The City Librarian then reported a break-down of the propose increase in the Library’s books and materials budgets.  Mr.  Herrera concluded by confirming that the City Attorney and the Controller had found the proposed transfer of funds from the Library Preservation Fund to the BLIP Budget proper.




City Librarian Herrera announced that the Noe Valley Branch Library would be closing for renovation on February 11th. Mr. Herrera then noted that the Mayor announced his appointment of internationally famed poet and essayist Jack Hirschman as our new Poet Laureate, and called attention to Marcia Schneider and Commissioner Gomez’s service on the search committee. The City Librarian then reported on the recent American Library Association (ALA) Mid-Winter Conference, noting the President Higueras and Commissioner Bautista had attended; reporting the meeting’s focus on libraries’ response to the Patriot Act, and generating support for libraries in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast areas damaged in Hurricane Katrina. Mr. Herrera reported on San Francisco’s participation in the ALA’s Adopt-a-Library Program through the Friends of the Library. The City Librarian highlighted the prestigious awards given at the annual conference and about the ALA’s new strategic Plan.


The City Librarian then presented a brief overview of recent and upcoming Library programs and exhibitions highlighting a March 11th series of programs on Irish-Americans and socials justice; noting on the same day there would be a discussion of the historical significance of Artist Diego Rivera’s mural located at City College; that on March 15th Andrew Sean Greer will discuss his work The Confessions of Max Tivoli. Turning to Teen Programs, Mr. Herrera discussed upcoming Teen SAT preparation programs at the Bayview and Excelsior Branch Libraries, called attention to a planned  March Hip Hop Poetry event, and concluding with an update on March Children’s Program by reporting on several children’s March 18th puppet theater presentations.   





An anonymous member of the public suspected that Mr. Hirschman was a hippie: was pleased to learn that librarians were still concerned about the Patriot Act, and noted the program on Irish-Americans and Social Justice saying they were traditionally in the forefront and very concerned with social justice issues, and lauded mention of the Confessions of Max Tivoli.


A 2nd Anonymous member of the public commented about his plan to submit an “immediate disclosure” public records request for all documents concerning the Wi-Fi item in the Library’s Budget. 


Mr. Peter Warfield commented that he was glad to hear about the activities highlighted in the City Librarian’s report.


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


Vice President Coulter thanked the City Librarian for his report and expressed wonder at many and varied kinds of exhibitions and programs offered at the libraries.


Commissioner Bautista found the report excellent and applauded the great work being done by Library staff.







An anonymous member of the public observed that perhaps the Commission should elect a President who would remain for the entire meeting and recommended returning to a later start time for Library Commission meetings.




MOTION: by Commissioner Chin , 2nd by Commissioner Bautista that Commissioner Higueras be elected President and Commissioner Coulter be elected Vice President of the San Francisco Public Library Commission for 2006.


Vice President Coulter thanked his colleagues for their expression of confidence and lauded President Higueras’ leadership of the Commission.


ACTION: AYE 5-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Gomez, and Strobin)




No report was offered.




Commissioner Bautista requested an update report on the Library’s music collections.


Public comment on AGENDA ITEM # 9 NEW BUSINESS


An anonymous member of the public found timely that an update report on the Library’s Dorothy Starr Sheet Music Collection should be presented.


Mr. Peter Warfield supported the request to agendize more reports on Library Collections and urged taking a wider view of the topics to be discussed, such as inquiry into the status of planned digitization of some Library collections, and concerning collections not fully or not at all listed in the Library’s catalog. 


Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM # 9 NEW BUSINESS


Vice President Coulter called attention to the critical role played by the Friends in acquiring the Starr Music Collection for the Library.




MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, 2nd Commissioner Strobin to adjourn the regular February 2, 2006 Public Library Commission meeting.


Commissioner Gomez decried the adversarial tone taken in public comments suggesting that honey was a better method of attracting favorable responses than vinegar. Commissioner Chin noted that those few who attended meetings did not speak for the City’s 750,000 residents.


ACTION: AYE 5-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Gomez, and Strobin)


The Commission meeting adjourned at 6:48pm


Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 3/6/05


There were two members of the public who choose to speak anonymously at this meeting.


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: Amendments to these Minutes are in an alternative type face. 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 (1/31/06)(summary; overview, table)

Main Library POE Phase II Update (2/2/06)       


 Minutes of the Library Commission Meeting February 2, 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.