SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION

 

Minutes of the Regular Meeting of February 5, 2009

 

(As amended and approved at the Regular Meeting of March 5, 2009)

 

The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, February 5, 2009, in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.

 

The meeting was called to order at 4:30 pm. 

 

Commissioners present:  Del Portillo, Gomez, Harris, Lee and Munson.

 

Commissioner excused:  Kane

 

Commissioner Chin arrived at 4:41 pm.

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 1 PUBLIC COMMENT

 

An anonymous citizen said that Wynship Hillyer spoke at the last Commission meeting.  He said Mr. Hillyer was very articulate and that Mr. Hillyer speculated that there might be some drugs of a psychiatric nature in the air system at the Library.  He said it seems unlikely that this is so but he said Mr. Hillyer had made 29 complaints and all he received was one response from the Library saying there were no anti-psychotic drugs used in the library.  He said the Library should have looked into what happened a year and a half ago.  He asked if it was possible that Mr. Hillyer has noticed some change in the venting since the remodel of the first floor.   

 

Sue Cauthen, Chair of the Board of Supervisors Library Citizens Advisory Committee (LCAC), said the LCAC passed a resolution asking the City Librarian and the Branch Library Improvement Program (BLIP) to schedule future BLIP meetings in our neighborhoods at times that do not conflict with the LCAC monthly meetings.  She said that on a couple of occasions community meetings had been scheduled on the same night as the LCAC meeting and in one instance the LCAC changed its meeting night to allow members to attend the BLIP meeting.

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said it would be appropriate if the Library would try to schedule its BLIP meetings at times other than when the LCAC has its regular meeting.  He said the process of the Park Branch planning was insulting to the public and gave little evidence that the public was listened to when previously consulted.  He said at the meeting on January 22 there was no response to the issues brought up at the previous meeting in July.  He said there was no mention of a survey that had been taken.  He said the meeting was held during a lapsit and it felt like an intrusion on a library activity.  He said there were kids making so much noise it was often difficult to understand what was being said.  He said the public was told the historic chairs would be kept.  He said they were told that the chairs from the 1960s were not historic chairs and would not be kept.  He said they were told the branch was going to be closed for contractor convenience and to keep costs down as well as to cut overall construction time.  He said the library and architect need to consider the public’s needs.  He said they were told the bond does not allow for an alternate full service site and asked why other branches have had them.

 

Trish Ann Robinson said the public especially the black homeless public are glad they still have a library to use.

 

Barry Taranto said he has not had a sufficient response to his complaints about the branch manager at Noe Valley and requested that she be transferred to another branch.  He said he has been accused of misconduct in the library.  He said he would like to see copies of his complaints and anything written about him.  He said he can’t use is laptop because the wireless is occasionally down at that branch.

 

A person who identified herself as a citizen born and raised in Cole Valley said she has gone to the Park Branch for many years.  She said it is appalling to her that in these tough economic times they are thinking of doing renovations or redecorations on any public building at this time.  She said budget wise cities are collapsing.  She said please wash the floors and the walls, clean the furniture, bathrooms, bookcases, make it more presentable but please do not sink us fiscally any further than we are already sinking.

 

Ron Clark said the San Francisco Library has a fantastic service.  He said when you reserve items you can actually walk up and see the items reserved by other patrons with their name visible.  He said he has complained about this numerous times both in person and over the phone.  He said he has been told by librarians that they are aware of this problem and they are not going to do anything about it.  He said the slips are thrown in a public waste basket for anyone to see.  He said this is a huge lapse of privacy.  He said his library account has been frozen and when trying to fix the problem, librarians have been quite rude to him.  He said there is no way to discern the difference between the wide screen and full screen DVDs.

 

A citizen said he wanted to thank the library and Everett Erlandson and Karen Sundheim for allowing him to work with them to put on the Edward Carpenter exhibit over the last month on the third floor.  He said it got a lot of local and national coverage. 

 

   

 

 

 

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 2.  PEER REVIEW OF PROPOSED DESIGN FOR THE PRESIDIO BRANCH LIBRARY

 

Lena Chen, Bond Program Manager Branch Library Improvement Program, said a response to the comments received today will be presented to the Commission at a future meeting.  She said the peer reviewers at today’s meeting are Gita Dev, FAIA, Founder Dev Architects and Lisa Rosenblum, Director of Library and Neighborhood Services, City of Hayward.  She said the architects for both the Presidio and Park Branch libraries are Field Paoli / Joseph Chow. 

 

Mark Schatz representing the joint venture of Field Paoli/Joseph Chow Associates said Joyce Chow is present today along with Kim Fisher who is managing both of the projects to be presented today.  He gave a slide show on the Presidio Branch and explained the project goals. He said the building will have a goal of LEED Silver.  He said they are working within a tight budget to achieve the goals.  He showed the existing and proposed floor plans.  He said improvements for the upper level will include more seating and computers, a defined teen area, expanded capacity for collections, featured new books and media collections, a combined information/circulation desk, relocated staff workroom, repair of  the sagging ceiling beams, enhanced children’s area with more color and clear access, wireless data access, new electrical service, enhanced historic character, renovated elevator for improved function and accessibility, natural lighting and ventilation, all new lighting to replace existing fluorescent down lights and improved self-sufficiency for patrons and self check out and holds shelving.  He said improvements for the lower level include all new accessible patron restroom facilities, upgraded lobby area with display cases and drinking fountains, fully renovated community room (International collections moved offsite), new outdoor book drop, new AV systems and furnishings, portable computer lab with laptop cart, expanded stroller storage, improved staff workroom, restroom, and lounge areas, all new lighting and systems and new server and storage rooms.

 

Brian Bannon, Chief of Branches, said staff has been very active in reviewing this project.  He said having a designated teen space is very important and he said they are adding some shelving, seating and computer space to the project even though no square footage is being added.  He said the meeting room will have increased functuality.  He said they are looking at landscaping and ways to beautify the exterior of the library. 

 

Lisa Rosenblum, Director of Library and Neighborhood Services, City of Hayward, said that San Francisco is the envy of the Bay area and known nationwide for its new libraries.  She said this is a beautiful classic Carnegie building.  She said it will be old fashioned looking but modern.  She said she likes the break between the children and teen areas.  She said she likes having the reference desk and circulation desk combined.  She said it offers better service to the patron as well.  She said the self check has been moved and she said having it closer to the circulation desk would be better.  She said she likes the bathroom configuration with the locked stalls.  She said she was concerned about the large heater and the safety of the children with the venting over the heater.  She said she likes the colors in the children’s area.  She said whenever possible they should show the covers of books in display areas and with lots of color.  She said she likes more specialty furniture for the teen space.  She said there is a large collection at the branch and she said she hoped the library would carefully deselect some of the material to allow for growth.  She said it will detract from the beauty of the bookshelves if what is on the bookshelves is old, torn and yellowing.  She said the branch has good floor space.  She said a little more modern design could be included.

 

Gita Dev, Founder, Dev Architects, said the things that struck her about the library are its beauty and historical character.  She said it has an extremely tall and stately ceiling height.  She said she likes the entry area having more presence and that the reference desk and circulation desk will be combined.  She said she likes the proposed decorative lighting. She likes the community room.  She said sometimes we are a little bit too respectful of the historic nature of the building.  She said she would like to see it brightened and lightened with something shiny or bright.  She said the building is too serious and she would like to see something whimsical.  She said the windows are gorgeous and adding some up lighting would make it more interesting.  She said it would be nice to see the fronts of books in the children’s room.  She said it would be nice to have good exterior lighting for the ramp leading to the community room.  She said it might be possible to organize a Friends of the garden at the library to maintain the garden.            

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said this is a branch that has probably been remodeled more than any other branch.  He said there has been two separate occasions in the last 35 years or so where the upstairs has been refurbished.  He said it has gotten a lot of attention.  He said it was one of the first branches to host a Commission meeting.  He said there is very little information about what the branch looked like before in the handout.  He said it is kind of an illusion about how open the floor space is going to be because on one of the drawings it shows perpendicular bookshelves next to the circulation desk.  He said it is very important that we have as many bookshelves as possible.  He said all of the computer seats seem to be clustered together and he said it would be better if the computer seats were integrated with the rest of the reading seats.

 

An unidentified woman said we are talking about people using the libraries.  She said what will happen in the first year will determine the needs of the library and she said that the library is for all the people.

 

Peter Warfield said it would have been nice to have the presentation with all of the details prior to the meeting.  He said it appears there are things missing from the materials.  He said there is no information about basic square footage for the use of various categories of users.  He said that is a standard that is provided and it is not provided in this case.  He said it appears the library is changing the programs by means of architecture.  He said if the library thinks the reference desks should be combined with circulation desks where they are not currently, there should be an open discussion about that issue and it should not be slipped in as part of the design for the new branch.  He said there is a great value of having the desks in separate areas.  He said some people like self service checkouts.  He said self service needs to be discussed as an objective as part of an architectural plan.

 

Marcia Popper said she is one of two representatives to the Council of Neighborhood Libraries from the Presidio Branch.  She said her comments today are personal.  She said she wanted to comment on how responsive the architects have been to the community.  She said it has been very clear since the first community meeting that they have been responsive to community needs and interests.  She said the location of the self check has been discussed and she said the community did not want those big clunky machines to be the first things you see when you walk into the building.  She said Richard Brautigan based his novel “The Abortion” at the branch.  She said she hopes that will be highlighted at the library.  She said the location of the book drop is a problem.  She said there is a group from the San Francisco Garden Club very interested in the garden at the branch.

 

Cathy Bremer said she is a librarian and a steward for Local 1021.  She said there has been a lot of discussion about combining the circulation and reference desks.  She said combining the two desks is not necessarily the best service.  She said she knows it is a way to open the branch with fewer people on staff but patrons like that these areas are kept separate.  She said there needs to be clear distinctions to maintain the excellent service that our patrons receive.         

 

Commission Discussion

 

Commissioner Lee said he appreciates the critique of the two reviewers.  He said the most important numbers are shown in the handouts.  He said the numbers for additional seats and shelving is the most important information.  He said he does not support indirect lighting.  He said it is for a cocktail lounge not a library.  He asked where this project is in its design stage.  He asked about the budget of the project.

 

Lena Chen, Bond Program Manager, said the project is in 50% working drawings. She said the original scope of work was for the interior remodeling but it has been expanded to include some exterior work.  She said they are looking to fund the exterior work from another funding source.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian said that since the branch will be closing for renovation it makes sense to do the exterior work as well.  He said with the bidding climate the way it is they are hopeful to include the exterior renovation.

 

Commissioner Del Portillo said she wanted to make sure the building met certain standards.

 

Mark Schatz said that the building will be a green building and the way that is determined is by the number of points that you receive.  He said you get points for a percentage of materials that are used.

 

Commissioner Chin asked about the reference desk and the circulation desk being combined.

 

Brian Bannon, Chief of Branches, said a lot of different factors are looked at in figuring out the best configuration for the library.  He said it is a complicated question and there is a discussion about each branch and how the functions will work best.  He said they will be happy to come back and address this further in their response to the peer review.

 

President Gomez said she was concerned about the safety issue of the heater in the children’s area.

 

Mark Schatz said they have discussed this and will put a second protective screen behind the decorative screen.  

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian asked if the Friends of the Library Report could be taken out of order due to time constraints.

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 4 FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY REPORT

 

Donna Bero, Friends of the Library, said the Friends are concerned with the issue of the budget deficit and some items that may be going on a future ballot regarding the possibility of revoking the set asides.  She said Friends have been alerting their membership and members of the Board of Supervisors have each received hundreds of messages from supporters on the library.  She said they are hoping to work with the Board and the Mayor’s office to look at the set asides individually.  She said annual programs for the San Francisco International Poetry Festival are continuing.  She said tonight they are presenting the second annual Iranian Arts Festival at Book Bay Fort Mason.  She said they will be celebrating the closing party for the Parkside Branch Library on Saturday.  She said there will be a Valentine’s Dinner Dance for the Ingleside Library Campaign on Friday, February 13.  She said on Sunday there will be a wine tasting event for the Richmond Branch Campaign with local vintners from the neighborhood.  She said on February 21 as part of the city-wide celebration of Evolve 2009, which is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of Origin of the Species there will be an event at the Library entitled the Bad Science Film Festival.  She said they have created new membership brochures for Friends that will be available all over town. 

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said as an indictment of the public comment fund he has been reciting Elegy in a Country Churchyard and he recited the conclusion of the poem. 

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 3.  PEER REVIEW OF PROPOSED DESIGN FOR THE PARK BRANCH LIBRARY

 

Mark Schatz representing the joint venture of Field Paoli/Joseph Chow Associates gave a slide show on the Park Branch renovation and gave the project goals.  He said the Park Branch is the oldest operating library in San Francisco.  He said it is a very well used and popular library.  He said there have been three community meetings on the renovation of the branch.  He said one was held during storytime so that people who are regular users of the library who might not be able to attend meetings in the evening would be able to participate in the process.  He said several nights later there was another community meeting held in the evening that was very well attended.  He said there are some great historic photos of this branch that showed skylights, but they cannot open them up because when the seismic renovation was done they had to frame across them.  He said they are going to use paint to highlight them in the ceiling.  He said they are going to use historic looking light fixtures.  He said the windows create a great ambience.  He explained the project goals.  He explained the floor plan and location of the teen’s area, the children’s area and the staff area.  He said improvements for the upper level include:  more seating, defined teen area, more computers, slightly expanded capacity for collections, featured new books and media collections, consolidated patron assistance station, defined area for staff workroom, enhanced children’s area with new interactive feature, wireless data access, new electrical service, enhanced historic character, better glare control at windows, natural lighting and ventilation, improved heating system – all new energy efficient furnace, all new lighting to replace existing fluorescent down lights, improved self-sufficiency for patrons – self check out, holds shelving.  He said improvements for the lower level include:  all new accessible patron restroom facilities, new lobby area with display cases and drinking fountains, improved accessibility at the main entry, new outdoor book drop, newly configured community room with state of the art AV equipment, portable computer lab with laptop cart, expanded stroller storage, improved staff workroom, restroom and lounge areas, all new lighting and systems and dedicated server room and chair/table storage.

 

Brian Bannon, Chief of Branches, said they are gaining some additions to the library and they will be able to reorient the library so that they have better sight lines.  He said there has been a lot of discussion about the chairs.  He said the plan is to bring back both types of historic chairs in the branch.

 

Lisa Rosenblum, Director of Library and Neighborhood Services, City of Hayward, said she admires the focus on preserving the historical character.  She said it is a great idea that the circulation desk is being moved to the center of the room.  She said it provides better sight lines.  She said she is finding that patrons in other libraries enjoy having the circulation and reference desk together.  She said the upgrade of the bathrooms is an excellent idea.  She said it is important to keep the sight lines low.  She said the branch is very crowded with collections.  She said the collection could easily be deselected and not impact patron usage.  She said when you have so much stuff you end up not seeing what you do have.  She said the older tables are large and seat six to eight patrons.  She said patrons tend to prefer tables that seat four.  She said she would recommend getting some smaller, beautiful wood tables.  She said the wider black chairs do not work under those tables.  She said the children’s area needs to have much more color with face out collections to make them feel welcome in that area.  She said the computer area for teens could be modified so that more than one teen can use each computer.

 

Gita Dev, Founder, Dev Architects, said she endorses everything Lisa has said.  She said she likes the long, deep room with huge windows and sunlight pouring in.  She said there does need to be better shade for the windows because the glare is very dominant.  She said the new period lighting will be beautiful as well as the historic shelving.  She said the paint scheme is a little more joyous in this branch.  She said she loves the community room and restrooms downstairs.  She said she thinks the consolidated desk will be successful if it is long enough.  She said the branch is very crowded as it is laid out.  She said she would like to see some slight adjustments.  She said it needs to be made really accessible.  She said there needs to be a very clear passage way by the circulation desk and the tables.  She said if there are not smaller tables there may need to be smaller shelves.  She said the tables need to be made accessible.  She said the zones should be the two architectural features in the ceiling and they should be made stronger.  She said it is a beautiful room but they have made a box around the staff room.  She said the proposed lighting is beautiful but there may be a need for additional lighting.

 

Public Comment

 

Peter Warfield said these plans have not been shared with anyone in the

public in advance.  He said the furniture was not shown at the meeting he attended and the chairs shown today differ from what he has seen from previous pictures.  He said the wall around the staff area does not respect the grand open space of this modest but airy branch.  He said it is inappropriate from a patron perspective.  He said the circulation desk does not allow control because it is far from the door.  He said the placement of the circulation desk will cause a lack of privacy and noise and distraction for the readers.  He said there are no reference desks shown in the plan.  He said he does not want to see the circulation and reference desks combined.  He said contrary to what Brian Bannon has said this has never been discussed at this Commission or anywhere else in the public that he knows of.  He said adult and children’s reference desks should be separate from each other and separate from the circulation desk for privacy and confidentiality.  He asked about the square footage.  He said a number of things in this plan suggest there will be much less space for the public.   

 

Commissioner Lee left the meeting.

 

Arlene Gemmel, Cole Valley, said she uses this library a lot and until this meeting she always thought it was perfect, but now she realizes it has problems. She said she agrees the tables need to be smaller.  She said she has never seen all the tables full.  She said she is concerned that the circulation desk is so close to the reading tables.  She said the collection needs to be weeded out and modernized.  She said she is disturbed about the library being closed for an entire year.  She said it seems that most of the work is being done downstairs in the community room and she asked if it would be possible to have the library closed only three or six months to get the work done.  She said she would like to see big trees.  She said overall she likes the new plan.

 

Eugene Lee said he is a frequent patron of the Park Branch.  He said he was not able to go to the community meetings.  He said he would like to see more matte finishings for the library to cut down on the glare.  He said the library is in the Haight Ashbury District and he would like to see some permanent space for the memorabilia in the branch’s collection to be displayed.  He said smaller tables offer more privacy.  He said it would be good to have plugs in the floor for patrons to use with their laptops.  He said the bike racks are about three steps up in front of the building and that they should be on the sidewalk.

 

An anonymous citizen said he lived for many years in this neighborhood and he said it is a branch that has been remodeled a number of times.  He said he does not get this design.  He said the circulation desk is closer to the rear of the library than to the front.  He said monitoring the door to the library is one of the main things that you want to be able to do.  He said the floor plan shows two large bookcases between the circulation desk and the front door, which would partially obscure the front door.  He said deselecting the collection is a hot button issue because people are encouraged to accept these bonds so that they will be augmenting the collections in the branches.  He said these issues are not solved by taking patron satisfaction surveys.

 

An unidentified speaker said he lives on Paige Street and the Park Branch is located in a high density population area.  He said the library is a community center for cultural and political meetings for the Haight Ashbury neighborhood.  He said the one year closure will have a human cost to the 50,000 people who have access to this facility.  He said unless this can be completed in a much shorter time span he urges the Commission to postpone the plan for this project.

Joey Cain, President of the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council, said the Board, after consulting with their membership, voted to oppose the closure of the Park Branch Library until a true community planning process is completed and an alternative full service site can be identified for the year the library will be closed.  He said the general sense is that this was brought to the community for minor tweaking and in the Haight that does not play very well.  He said people feel an incredible sense of resentment that this is being thrown down their throats.  He said that doesn’t need to happen.  He said the community loves the library but just from the comments today he thinks this is a horrible plan.  He said having a closed off staff area is a problem and they would like this to go back to the planning stage and have a real dialogue with the community.  He said the plan does not work.  He said they don’t know what the capacity will be.

 

Melissa Riley, librarian at West Portal, said the most used copies of any title are branch copies.  She said it is important to have a breadth and depth of collection.  She said Presidio and Park are among the biggest buildings in the system even though they don’t have the highest circulation.  She said there are other very small branches in the system.  She said in her experience the larger tables work well because people like to have an extra seat between them and another person.   She said

she doesn’t know if there is enough space behind the circulation desk.

 

Commission Discussion

 

Commissioner Munson said we need to think about the comments from the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council.

 

Commissioner Harris said it sounds like the neighbors don’t want the branch closed at all.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian said that any delays will have serious implications in terms of cost.  He said this project has had a similar community engagement process as the other branches.  He said many people in the community are very eager to move forward with the project.  He said they have been very deliberate in working with the architect to try to cut down the length of time the branch will be closed.  He said the library is looking at ways to provide some level of service during the time the branch is closed.  

 

Commissioner Del Portillo said if this does not move forward now it will not be done because of the economics of the situation.  She said this needs to be communicated very clearly to the community.  She said she understands that no community wants their library to be closed but it should move forward now.

 

Commissioner Chin said the Park Branch was one of the first that was renovated for seismic retrofit.  She said laws have changed since that time.

 

Brian Bannon, Chief of Branches, said laws have changed and he said the library is trying to do all the things that need to be done to operate this building long into the future.   He said we really need to enhance the infrastructure of the building.  He said there is a need for additional restrooms.

 

Luis Herrera said the community does not want to see the branch closed at all and for some reason in this community there is a fear in the community that the library will not be reopened.

 

Commissioner Del Portillo said that lack of access to people with disabilities is a very serious business.

 

Commissioner Chin said that the school she administers is the oldest public school in California and was opened in 1852.  She said it was renovated in 1990 and she said it now requires extensive renovation to meet the current requirements.

 

President Gomez asked for more information on what comes next in the process and what the community process has been so far.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said they have held three community meetings.  He said after the peer review today they will go back and respond to the comments, but he said they will not be starting the design process over.  He said there will be a couple more community meetings prior to the closure. 

 

Brian Bannon said there is no turning back on the design regarding the mechanical and electrical upgrades but there will be further input on the furniture, sight lines in the branch, etc.

 

President Gomez said she understands there is a slight increase in shelving and seating for the branch.  She said she would be happy to go out and talk with some of the community groups about the branch.  She said it is not merely cosmetics that they are looking at and it is unfortunate the library will need to be closed so long.  She again said she would be happy to meet with the community groups to discuss this further.   

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 5 FISCAL YEAR 2009/10 LIBRARY BUDGET

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian said the Commission was presented the proposal for the Fiscal Year 2009/10 Library Budget at the last meeting.  He said that was based on priorities that had been presented to the Commission in December.  He said with the direction provided by the Commission they have looked at some of the big ticket items and have looked at reductions to the budget.  He said they have made an additional reduction to the budget of $561,000.  He said the packet that was sent out on Monday showed that reduction.  He said since then there has been a further update on projects and they have made further reductions.

 

Maureen Singleton, Budget Manager, said based on the additional information received from the Controller’s Office the Library will be seeing an approximately $4.2 million reduction in revenue sources for the upcoming fiscal year.  She said the proposed budget for next year is $84.13 million, which includes an operating budget of $81.25 million, a capital project budget of $212,435 and a debt service payment of $2.7 million.  She showed a slide presentation breaking the budget down into more detail regarding operating budget, library collections, Labor costs and Full Time Equivalents (FTEs).   

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, explained the categories where budget reductions were being proposed.  He said the total reduction from what was previously presented to the Commission is $477,000.

 

Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said in the area of Enhancement to Library Collections and Access, they had proposed several new components.  She said they are proposing to cut all of these proposals at this time and they will look at other ways in which they can possibly be funded.

 

Maureen Singleton explained the budget revenue amounts.  She said the library will be dipping into the fund balance for approximately $3.6 million in order to balance the revenues and expenditures.  She said this year’s proposed budget is an overall reduction from last year’s budget of $450,000.   She said the next steps are to submit the budget to the Controller’s Office on February 20, to the Mayor’s Office on March 1 and to the Board of Supervisors on June 1, 2009.  The Board hearings will be held in mid June. 

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said an issue that would affect this budget further is legislation that has been introduced relating to set asides for a possible special election in June.  He said another issue that might affect the budget is potential lease costs for branch libraries located on Recreation and Park land.  He said the library is recommending the Commission take action to approve the budget at today’s meeting.

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said what is referred to as the current economic problem is not an interim problem.  He said this is a situation that will redefine normal for the next generation and needs to be planned for in those terms.  He said he wondered if the bond sale was still scheduled for February 10.  He said the way this was introduced was to minimize the draw on the reserve.  He said there was one set of figures on January 15, there was another set of figures sent out with the packet and he said even that is out of date and there is new information at this meeting.  He said if the estimates are falling this dramatically, he asked what the Controller thinks the long term prospects are.  He said the Commission is the trustee of the Furhman Fund and should review it.

 

Peter Warfield said the budget that was presented at this meeting was not provided in advance to the Commissioners or to the public.  He said it makes informed comment rather difficult.  He said the property tax for the first time that he can remember is actually going down.  He said long range issues need to be reviewed.  He said he is concerned that the enhancements to library collections has been focusing on so called opening day collections and it is not clear to him where the budget change proposals are made in this area. He said there needs to be serious consideration for where the book money is going.

 

Sue Cauthen, Library Citizens Advisory Committee, said some of the members of the LCAC contacted her about the potential loss of the set asides.  She said they are also concerned about the lack of discretionary money for the Board for other programs such as health funding.  She said they are going to have a discussion about this at their next LCAC meeting. 

 

Commission Discussion

 

Commissioner Munson said staff has done an excellent job in pulling this together with the significant changes.  He said the economics favor financing the Branch Library Improvement Program.  He said the proposed legislation relating to the set aside is not helpful.  He said this is an ideal time to complete this project because 75% of the voters approved it. 

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said the set aside legislation would basically redefine the Library as a general fund department that would need to take the same sort of reductions as other departments.

 

Commissioner Del Portillo said it is unimaginable that people in San Francisco would allow this to go through.  She said there are several departments impacted by this.  She said the libraries are unique because the more poverty there is the more important libraries become.  She said students will depend more and more on libraries.  She said this is the time libraries will play a much more important role.  She said we cannot afford to be unprepared.

 

President Gomez said the way cultures survive this kind of economic decline is the refusal to succumb to panic.  She said the level of hopefulness is one of the things that will let the culture survive.  She said she hopes staff will report back to the Commission the actual impacts to the Library if the proposed legislation is approved.

 

 MOTION: by Commissioner Del Portillo, seconded by Commissioner Chin, to adopt the budget as revised.

 

AYES: 5-0 (Chin, Del Portillo, Gomez, Harris, and Munson)

 

 

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 6. LABOR UNION REPORT

 

There was no Labor Union Report.

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 7 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF DECEMBER 4, 2008

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said the idea to taking up the minutes last is contrary to Roberts Rules of Order and any good sense of proper management.  He said one of the changes made is that the minutes no longer state the time the Commissioners leave the meeting when they leave early.  He said his comments on page one was stopped in mid sentence and without a period.  He said the minutes say that the Commission recessed and he said in fact the Commission lost a quorum and should say that the Commission lost a quorum and then regained a quorum.  He said the comments by him about Commissioner Munson have been completely turned around.

 

Commissioner Chin left the meeting.

 

Peter Warfield said he would like to praise some of the description or detail in the minutes and said it is specifically important to name names and titles of books when they are referred to. 

 

MOTION: by Commissioner Harris, seconded by Commissioner Munson, to approve the minutes of December 4, 2008.

 

AYES: 4-0 (Del Portillo, Gomez, Harris, and Munson)

 

ITEM NO. 8. ADJOURNMENT

 

MOTION: by Commissioner Del Portillo, seconded by Commissioner Munson to adjourn the regular meeting of Thursday, February 5, 2009.

 

Public Comment

 

There was no public comment on this item.

 

AYES: 4-0 (Del Portillo, Gomez, Harris, and Munson).

 

The regular meeting of February 5, 2009, of the San Francisco Public Library Commission adjourned at 8:14 pm.

 

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

 

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