SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION

 

Minutes of the Regular Meeting of February 3, 2011

 

(Approved as amended at the regular March 17, 2011 meeting)

 

The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, February 3, 2011, in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.

 

The meeting was called to order at 4:35 pm.

 

Commissioners present: Breyer, Gomez, Munson and Ono

 

Commissioner Randlett is excused.

 

Commissioner Kane arrived at 4:40 pm.

 

Commissioner Nguyen arrived at 5:44 pm.

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 1 PUBLIC COMMENT

 

An anonymous citizen said when he mentioned last time that changes in the Library Preservation Fund accounting, Commissioner Kane seemed to take his side, and Finance Officer John Doidge thinks he was right.  He said you have not heard about what was at stake, because you are manipulated to agree that your claims on aristocracy supersede the truth.  He said people give money to a private non-profit for corruption, self-interest and the self-serving lies that they depend on.  He said the public decided that a library should be publicly funded so that there should be freedom of speech and open information so that the truth might emerge. (See addendum for a 150 word statement submitted by the speaker.)

 

Ray Hartz, Director San Francisco Open Government, said the Sunshine Task Force ruled against the Library Commission for not including the 150 word statements submitted by the speaker in the body of the minutes.  He said a letter of determination has not yet been issued, but it was a unanimous decision in his favor.  He said what the public says should be reflected accurately in the body of the minutes. 

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said he was at the Sunshine Task Force meeting the previous speaker referred to and he said unfortunately for the library is was another in a string of violations against the library.  He said instead of putting the 150 word statement into the body of the minutes they are placed at the end of the minutes after the Commission Secretary’s signature.  He said there was a reception prior to this meeting where a large check was presented and he hopes to hear more details about that check.

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 2 ELECTION OF COMMISSION OFFICERS FOR 2011

 

Commissioner Munson nominated Jewelle Gomez as President, seconded by Commissioner Ono.

 

Commissioner Kane nominated Lee Munson as Vice-President, seconded by Commissioner Ono.

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said there is a complaint pending before the Ethics Commission for violation of public comment and failure to send a representative to the Sunshine Task Force.  He said everyone understands that this is the Jewelle Gomez complaint.  He said this has never been discussed at the Commission.  He said the staff report treats her actions very harshly.  He said if you return the same person as Chair you are ratifying her action as well.  (See addendum for a 150 word statement submitted by the speaker.)

 

 Ray Hartz, Director San Francisco Open Government, said he recently read an article about people in the government not willing to take responsibility for their actions.  He said the reelection of the president is inappropriate because she failed to take responsibility for her own actions. 

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said it is pretty sad that the Commission has nominated the existing leadership.  He said the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force has found that the current president has willfully violated the law.  He said it is a serious thing.  He said the endorsement you are giving this is most unfortunate.

 

Donna Bero, Friends of the Library, said Jewelle Gomez has done a stellar job as President of the Commission and she is thrilled that she is willing to continue in that role.

 

Motion: By Commissioner Munson, seconded by Commission Ono to approve the nomination of Jewelle Gomez as President of the Library Commission.

 

Action:  AYES 5-0: (Breyer, Gomez, Kane, Munson, and Ono).

 

Motion:  By Commissioner Kane, seconded by Commission Ono to approve the nomination of Lee Munson as Vice President of the Library Commission.

 

Action:  AYES 5-0: (Breyer, Gomez, Kane, Munson, and Ono).

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 3 RESOLUTION OPPOSING ELIMINATION OF STATE LIBRARY PROGRAM FUNDING

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said the State is facing serious budgetary problems.  He said Governor Brown is suggesting eliminating the California Library Services Act, Public Library Foundation and the California Library Literacy and English Acquisition Services.  He said they are presenting a draft Resolution asking that the California Legislature restore library funding to the State budget.  He said the impact of the cutbacks would be approximately $496,000 for the San Francisco Public Library.

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said this should receive universal support but it shouldn’t be so much about the money.  He said the California Library Services Act was not cooperation in order to get the money.  He said it was designed to be money that would foster cooperation.  He said you would have more credibility to endorse this now if you had taken its goals seriously all along.  He said he still urges passage of the resolution.  (See addendum for a 150 word statement submitted by the speaker.)

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said thank you to the City Librarian for presenting this resolution to the Commission.  He said he understands that the California Library Services Act subsidizes the Interlibrary Loan Program.  He said that is a valuable program.  He said he strongly urges the Commission to support this resolution.

 

Ray Hartz, Director San Francisco Open Government, said the resolution is focused on the money.  He said the Commission should be more serious stewards of the money in the budget.  He said he would like a little more information about the substance and not just the money.

 

Randy Weaver, Project Manager for the Adult Literacy Program and Project Read, said the loss of the funding will mean the loss of enhancements to the program which have made it as successful as it has become.  He said it will affect on a daily basis what Project Read accomplishes.  He said he would like to encourage the adoption of this resolution.

 

Commission Discussion

 

Commissioner Munson said he would like to see a little more information on the value of this funding to the library

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said he would be happy to provide more information on the number of people served and the value of the programs.

 

Commissioner Kane said the Commission could revise the last “Whereas” in the resolution to include more of the information discussed at this meeting.

 

Commissioner Breyer said we could provide the information separately in a cover letter.

 

Motion: By Commissioner Munson, seconded by Commissioner Breyer to approve the Resolution opposing elimination of State Library Program Funding in Governor Brown’s 2011-12 budget with a cover letter describing more fully the impact on the programs affected and statistics on the number of people served by these programs.

 

Action:  AYES 5-0: (Breyer, Gomez, Kane, Munson, and Ono).

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 4 FRIENDS OF THE SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY REPORT

 

Donna Bero, Executive Director Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, said the Friends have recently developed a revised Mission Statement.  She said their total grant support to the Library both direct and indirect for FY 10/11 totals $4,087,698.  She said their revenues come from donations by individuals, local foundations, corporations and book sales.  She said 82% or $3,337,698 goes to the Library’s Capital Campaign and 18% or $750,000 goes to library program support.  She said this is the big year for the Branch Library Improvement Program.  She gave a breakdown of the grants given to the library from 2005 -2010 she said this includes both direct and indirect grants and totals $10,913,135.  She said some of the programs they support are Summer Reading, Children’s Programming, Teen Services and Programs, Senior Programs and many more.  She said more ways Friends gives to SFPL is through volunteers, books and materials for collections and expertise and support.  She said other Friends programs and activities include advocacy and community outreach; Big Book sale; Poets Eleven; author events and lectures and partnerships.  She presented a check to the Library in the amount of $4,087,698.  She said they are grateful for all of the work the Library Commission does on behalf of the community.

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said according to the agenda this is the Friends’ annual report but the last one was March 5, 2009.  He said it would be nice if the citizens had access to the graphic display.    He said the library is obligated to post amounts donated to the library.  He said documents shows that the Friends have made $31.7 million and they have given the library only$3.1 million.  He said this would be more dramatic if the citizens could show this on the graphic display.  (See addendum for a 150 word statement submitted by the speaker.)

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said the check is for presumably prospective expenses and expenditures in the current year.  He said if you look at prior years the figures do not match.  He said those discrepancies need to be reconciled.

 

Ray Hartz, Director San Francisco Open Government, said this report is nonsubstantive.  He said there are no figures for the amount of money the Friends gave to the Library for specific programs.  He said he would like to see a financial statement.

 

Stephen Kaufman, Member Board of Directors, Friends of the Library, said he is proud to be part of the Friends of the Library and that he has been involved in the Neighborhood Library Campaign for the Potrero Branch Library.

 

Ellen Egbert said she is proud to be a member of the Friends and is proud to donate to the Friends.  She said Friends help to support Project Read and its book club.  She said she urges people to support the Friends and to donate to them.

 

Commission Discussion

 

Commissioner Munson said it is helpful that the report contains both direct and indirect support and he congratulates them.

 

Commissioner Breyer said the contributions the Friends have made is tremendous.  He said the book sales make up a significant portion of the budget.

 

Donna Bero said the greatest amount of contributions come from individuals. She said they are working to increase their revenue through book sales and the café.  She said they are also looking at increased giving.

 

Commissioner Breyer asked about the budget for opening the new branches.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said the library is in very good shape fiscally for the opening of the new branches. 

 

Donna Bero said the Friends are contributing about a 10% investment in the Branch Library Improvement Program. 

 

Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said the library does receive direct cash to purchase Furniture and Fixtures from the Friends, they also purchase items directly.

 

Commissioner Kane clarified that on the revenue side the gross budget is about $7 million and administrative costs are in the 20% range. He asked for clarification on the Library Program Support and how that money is received by the Library.  He thanked the Friends for all their hard work and support.

 

Donna Bero said it is a joy to work with such a vital institution.

 

 AGENDA ITEM NO. 5 FISCAL YEAR 2011/12 BUDGET FORECAST AND PRIORITIES

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said this report provides additional detail on the budget and the Commission will be asked to take action on the budget at the February 17, 2011 meeting. He said they will also be presenting the five year budget strategy.  

 

John Doidge, Chief Financial Officer, gave an update on the FY 11 Budget and FY 12 Base and Proposal.  He said there is some modest revenue improvement.  He said total revenues are up 2.3 million.  He said the total budget is still short $3.6 million.

 

Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said we are recommending a reduction of $500,000 to the library collections, books and materials.  She said priorities will be met and we are targeting reductions.  She said they will be looking at improving collection management practices.  She said we are recommending adding $.9 million to Information Technology for service and infrastructure support and public services.  She said we are recommending adding $.6 million to Facilities for contracted maintenance services and work order maintenance services.

 

John Doidge, Chief Financial Officer, explained the savings needed to fund priorities.  He said the total proposed reduction is $1.3 million.  He explained the draft five year forecast for FY 12 through FY 16.  He said $3.6 million is needed to balance the budget. 

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said we are hoping that revenue projections continue to improve.  He said we could draw more from the fund balance if the Commission does not support the cuts we have provided as options.  He said they did not bring back to the Commission any of the bigger ticket items previously discussed.

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said there has not been a discussion about what exactly is the reserve.  He said $7.3 million has been taken out of the reserve in the last two years.  He said there has been a priority for protecting open hours and collections.  He said it looks like the strategy now is to cut books and materials and reduce open hours. (See addendum for a 150 word statement submitted by the speaker.)

 

 

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said it looks like the budget is up $2.2 million but books are down and hours are down.  He said books and open hours are core to what the library does.  He said technology upgrades are not core to the library’s purpose and those are areas that could be cut back instead of increased. 

 

Ray Hartz, Director San Francisco Open Government, said a lot of the numbers don’t make sense to him.  He said there is not a lot of detail in the report to back up the numbers.  He said the labor costs are increasing significantly in the next few years and he is not clear on the reason for that.

 

Commission Discussion

 

Commissioner Kane said the money that was allocated for the current fiscal year will be returned back to the Library Preservation Fund.

 

John Doidge said that the current fund balance is around $12.5 million and with the return it will be approximately $14 million.  He responded to a question from Commissioner Kane that the labor costs in the five year forecast are based on no increase in the number of Full Time Equivalent (FTE) positions.

 

Commissioner Kane said he would like to know the specifics on the work orders with other departments for the next meeting.  He said he wanted to make sure we have an adequate budget for maintenance.

 

Roberto Lombardi, Facilities Director, said the budget meets the needs for maintenance.  He said the new buildings are more energy efficient so we will be saving some money there.

 

Commissioner Kane said drawing from the reserve is only a short term solution.  He said he would like to look at other solutions if possible while still maintaining our core mission.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said they will bring back more details on the work orders with other departments.  He said we are optimistic that revenues will increase. 

 

John Doidge, Chief Financial Officer, said the last two years the Facilities budget has been cut back.

 

Commissioner Ono asked for actual dollar amounts for the recommendations of service level reductions.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said they would bring back more details on the dollar amounts of service level reductions.

 

Commissioner Kane would like to not take more than $2.7 to $3 million from the reserve.

 

Commissioner Breyer said he would prefer not to have a deficit because the five year program looks quite bleak.  He said if there are any investments that could be made today that will help bring down costs in the future, we should look at those investments. 

 

Commissioner Nguyen suggested signage encouraging people take the stairs rather than the elevators.  He said he would like the library to look at sensors for energy use and setting computers so that they will go on sleep mode to reduce the cost of electricity.  He asked about the bookmobiles and what would happen to the existing bookmobiles.  He asked about preservation of paperback books.

 

John Doidge, Chief Financial Officer, said there has been an energy audit of the Main Library and there have been changes to make the Main more energy efficient.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said the city is very serious about the Climate Action Plan and he said it will pay off.  He said we have a unit that repairs books and manages the materials we have.

 

John Doidge, Chief Financial Officer, said some of the bookmobiles are quite old so would probably be retired.

 

Commissioner Munson said he would like to focus on the five year plan and said we need to watch the economy closely.

 

Commissioner Kane left the meeting at 7:15 pm.   

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 6. CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said the Board of Supervisors did approve the Civic Center Community Benefit.  He said the timeline is to have it officially begin in July, 2011 with the establishing a non-profit, defining service levels and hiring staff.  He said services are expected to begin January 2012.

 

Toni Bernardi, Chief of Children and Youth Services, said the Check Out SF Family Pass is a partnership between the San Francisco Public Library and the Department of Children, Youth and Families.  She said there were 17 attractions as part of the pilot program from April through December.  She gave statistics on circulation by attraction and circulation by month.  She said a survey of the program was taken on line and she gave the results of the survey.  She said 62 percent of the public rated the program as very good or excellent. She said they conducted a survey with the attractions and all of them rated the program as good or very good.  She said the staff was also surveyed and they said that the significant popularity of the program caused SFPL staff to be creative in serving the public and distributing these limited passes. She outlined the recommendations including making the program permanent.

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said it is axiomatic the Community Benefit District will not save money.  He said on its face, the contract has a maintenance of effort provision, so if we saved money it would be a violation of the contract.  He said the Family Pass program is a public relations report.  He said he would like to know more about the cost effectiveness or total benefits report.  He said this is not one of our core functions and it does cost us money.  (See addendum for a 150 word statement submitted by the speaker.)

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said the Community Benefit District unfortunately passed at the Board of Supervisors and now will cost the library to make the library more unwelcoming as the ambassadors will hassle people who are homeless.  He said the commitment to the CBD is for 10 years.  He said the Family Pass program dismays him.

 

Ray Hartz, Director San Francisco Open Government, said the Community Benefit District will start in July but there will be no benefits until 2012.  He said he would like to see specifics on what the library would hope to see from this program.

 

 Commission Discussion

 

Commissioner Breyer had questions about the circulation statistics for the Family Pass program.

 

Toni Bernardi, Chief of Children and Youth, explained the circulation process for the Family Pass program.  She also said they may be looking at providing book lists, but she said providing the opportunity to enjoy arts and cultural events in the city is important.

 

Commissioner Ono said it would be interesting to know if books on certain subjects increased in circulation in relation to the activities that are provided by the Family Pass.

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 7.  LABOR UNION REPORT

 

There was no labor report at this meeting.

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 8. ADJOURNMENT

 

Public Comment

 

There was no public comment on this item.

 

Motion:  By Commissioner Ono, seconded by Commissioner Munson to adjourn the regular meeting of January 6, 2011.   

 

Action:  AYES 5-0: (Breyer, Gomez, Nguyen, Munson, and Ono).

 

The meeting adjourned at 7:41 pm.

 

Sue Blackman

Commission Secretary

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).

 

ADDENDUM

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.

Item 1: General Public Comment

 

Anonymous Citizen: Stop the Hate, Stop the Ignorance – Don’t accept money from the Friends & Foundation

 

When I mentioned changes in the Library Preservation Fund accounting, Commissioner Kane seemed to take my side, and Finance Officer John Doidge thinks I was right.

 

You have not heard about what was at stake, because you are manipulated to agree that your claims on aristocracy supersede the truth. 

 

You have bought into the con game that mocking and taunting the public is necessary to prevent you from knowing truth, because your privileges depend on it.  Because it is an appeal to your vanity, you accept it.

 

Creating barriers to humanity is what they pay for. You have been told that people will not give money to a public institution for decency and justice.  People give money to a private non-profit for corruption, self-interest and the self-serving lies that they depend on.

 

The public decided that a library should be publicly funded for exactly that reason, and that there should be freedom of speech and open information so that the truth might emerge.

 

_______________________

 

Item 2: Election of Commission Officers for 2011

 

Anonymous Citizen:  Stop the Hate, Stop the Ignorance – Don’t give or accept money from the Friends & Foundation.

 

There was an old radio show that began, “The names have been changed to protect the innocent.”  Young people probably think that the original was, the names have been changed to protect the guilty.

 

A complaint before the Ethics Commission for violation of public comment and failure to send a representative names the Library Commission as the responsible party although you have never discussed it or decided it represents your policy.  Everyone understands it to be the “Jewelle Gomez” complaint, but the names have been changed to protect the guilty. 

 

The Ethic Commission’s staff report treats your actions very harshly.  At this point you may as well ratify the actions of the chair by reelecting her – based on, in for a penny, in for a pound – and take responsibility when you are found guilty.

 _______________________

 

Item 3: Resolution Opposing Elimination of State Library Program Funding

 

Anonymous Citizen:  Stop the Hate, Stop the Ignorance – Don’t give or accept money from the Friends & Foundation.

 

This should receive universal support, but this is not supposed to be so much about the money.  The California Library Services Act was not cooperation in order to get the money.  It was designed to be money that would foster cooperation.

 

The resolution itself says that it should benefit the residents of California and particularly the underserved.  The underserved were not supposed to be the Friends.  They are a broad segment of the community not reached by regular library service.

 

I could go into your efforts to not fulfill this program, not cooperate with BALIS, et cetera.  It may be ancient history now, but I lived through it.

 

You would have more credibility to endorse this now if you had taken its goals seriously all along.

 

I still urge passage of the resolution.

 

_______________________

 

Item 4: Friends of the San Francisco Public Library Report

 

Anonymous Citizen:  Stop the Hate, Stop the Ignorance – Don’t give or accept money from the Friends & Foundation.

 

Please laugh at me while I am talking – it has always worked before.

 

The agenda describes this as the “annual” report but the last one was March 5, 2009, a strange definition of annual.

 

You saw a nice graphic display.  Would you be more persuaded by my comments if you saw a nice graphic display in response, with similar impact and dramatic effect? 

 

Comparing disclosures required to be filed with the California Attorney General with disclosures required of City Librarian Herrera we find that in ten years the Friends have made $31.7 Million and given for library purposes $3.1 Million.  It is only that much because they include the election campaign.

 

Documents designed to provide public accountability and signed under penalty show how they are able to come up with $4 Million, and it is not a pretty picture.

 _______________________

 

Item 5: Fiscal Year 2011/12 Budget Forecast and Priorities

 

Anonymous Citizen:  Stop the Hate, Stop the Ignorance – Don’t give or accept money from the Friends & Foundation.

 

I complimented your December 2nd presentation and regret it because it has been worse ever since.

 

The crucial fact you never get is exactly how much the reserve is.  This shortfall comes out of your reserve and there has been a $7.3 Million taken out of the reserve in two years.

 

I have complimented you, and especially Commissioner Kane, for making a priority for protecting open hours and collections.  Yet, in this situation your strategy is to cut books and material, and reduce open hours.

 

Everyone understands those are our basic services yet we are spending money out of the reserve to keep up the other things.

 

Can we be assured that money spent out of the reserve goes back to the reserve?  The Controller ought to come here to answer that question.

 _______________________

 

Item 6: City Librarian’s Report

 

Anonymous Citizen:  Stop the Corporate Rape of the Library – Don’t give or accept money from the Friends & Foundation.

 

It is axiomatic the CBD will not save money.  On its face, the contract has a maintenance of effort provision, so if we saved money it would be a violation of the contract.

 

Regarding the Family Pass program, Ms. Bernardi always gives a nice presentation as the charming young lady she is.  But, this is the Public Relations report.  How about the Cost Effectiveness report or the Total Benefits report?

 

She let the cat out of the bag when she said that it was popular with the attractions because it does not overwhelm their staff.  But it is alright to overwhelm our staff in a situation where we are having a hard enough time preserving our core functions?

 

It is not one of our core functions, and it does cost us money.