Minutes of the Regular Meeting of February 7, 2008


(As approved at the regular meeting of March 6, 2008)



The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, February 7, 2008, in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.


Sue Blackman, Commission Secretary, called the meeting to order at 4:39 pm.†


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


Excused:† Commissioner Chin




Sue Blackman, Commission Secretary said that since the President and Vice-President of the Commission had resigned and new officers were not elected at the previous meeting, the Commissioners would need to elect one of their peers to preside over the meeting.


Motion:† By Commissioner Del Portillo, seconded by Commissioner Munson to nominate Commissioner Munson to preside over the meeting until the election of officers.


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said the agenda should have made it clear that this item was to elect a presiding officer only until the election of officers.


Peter Warfield said he agrees that the presiding officer should preside only until the election of officers.


Commission Discussion




Action:† AYES 6-0: (Del Portillo, Gomez, Harris, Kane, Lee and Munson) to elect Commissioner Munson to preside over the meeting until the election of officers.




An anonymous citizen said at the last meeting the Commission was told that San Francisco was 7th on a list of most literate US cities.† He said that this is a collection of six criteria and that San Francisco was 17th in the library category, down from 14th the year before.† He said a great amount of energy is used to prevent the Commissioners from obtaining this type of information.


Peter Warfield said in December there was a discussion at the Commission relating to fines and fees and charges at the Library.† He said one of the fees related to the Link+ program and the fact that it is charging an extraordinarily high flat rate for lost and damaged materials.† He said the discussion on this issue was to be brought back to the Commission.† He said he wanted to remind the Commission that this needs to be brought back to be discussed because of the impact of these fees on poor people and the barrier to access.


Ellen Egbert, Bernal Heights, said the Bernal Heights branch will have its closing party on Saturday and the Eureka Valley branch will have its closing party on March 1.† She said it would be a good idea for the Commissioners to see the existing branches before they close if possible.




Motion:† By Commissioner Kane seconded by Commissioner Harris to nominate Commissioner Gomez as President and Commissioner Munson as Vice-President.


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said the Commission should call for public comment prior to closing nominations.† He said it was not necessary to have a President and Vice President from the prior sitting Commission.† He said it would be nice to have one of the new Commissioners so that the Commission could break from the practices of the past and start afresh.

Peter Warfield said he would like to see the new members considered as officers.† He said the Sunshine Ordinance has been extremely important and there have been many challenges and many of them successful with regard to violations of the Sunshine Ordinance by the Library and the Commission itself.† He said he would urge that the Commission consider someone familiar with the Sunshine Ordinanceís requirements and that Commissioner Kane seems particular sensitive to the requirement that there be public comment.




Donna Bero, Friends of the Library, said she wanted to commend the Commission on the nominations before the Commission and said that she thinks Commissioner Gomez will make a quite eloquent and visionary leader for this group.† She said she welcomed the three new Commissioners as well.


Commission Discussion


Presiding Officer Munson asked the Commission if there were other nominations.† He said seeing none he asked for a vote on the motion.


Action: Ayes 6-0 (Commissioners Del Portillo, Gomez, Harris, Kane, Lee and Munson) to elect Commissioner Gomez as President and Commissioner Munson as Vice-President.




Sue Blackman, Commission Secretary said the draft resolutions were in the Commissioners packets and available for the public at the back of the room.


President Gomez said these are resolutions honoring past Commissioners Bautista, Coulter and Higueras.† She said these Commissioners served on the Commission for a great number of years and she said she would rely on them and their spirits as the Commission moves forward.


Public Comment


Donna Bero, Friends of the Library, thanked Charles Higueras for his leadership and dedication to quality for the Branch Library Improvement Program; she thanked Steve Coulter for his wonderful context and historical perspective that he gave the Commission and she thanked Helen Marte Bautista for her enthusiasm and commitment to equity and outreach.† She commended all three of them for their personal sacrifice and commitment to the Library and the Commission.


Peter Warfield said he was glad this was on the agenda and he said over the years, whether or not he agreed with these Commissioners on every issue he said he certainly supports the Commission approving these resolutions recognizing, honoring and commending Charles Higueras, Steve Coulter and Helen Marte Bautista for their long service on the Commission.


Helen Marte Bautista said she congratulated the new Commission members and wished them well.† She said she has been nominated as First Vice-President, President-elect of the American Library Trustees Association and her experience with the Commission has given her an opportunity to serve on a national board.


Charles Higueras thanked Library staff and the Commission for this acknowledgment.† He said congratulations to the new Commissioners.† He said his 12 years on the Commission were very enjoyable and he was gratified by the experience.† He said in every year he grew in his respect for the institution.† He said he takes great pride in taking part in the Branch Library Improvement Program.† He said this particular Commission is very much about getting on the same page.† He said at the end of the day the Library is of critical importance to so many people in this city, so he said there is no room for alternative agendas or conflicting opinions.† He said there is an enormous opportunity for the library to move forward.


Sue Cauthen, Chair Library Citizens Advisory Committee (LCAC), thanked the former Commissioners for working with the LCAC.† She also welcomed all of the new Commissioners and said she looks forward to a wonderful year.


An anonymous citizen said a little controversy can be good and he wished the former Commissioners good luck in the future.†††† †


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Del Portillo expressed her personal thanks and noted the pride of the Latino community for Charles Higueras and his service.† She said she is always amazed at Steve Coulterís kindness and intelligence and she said she was sorry he was not in attendance at the meeting.† She said thank you to Helen Bautista and she said she looks forward to continue to work with her on other issues.†


Commissioner Munson said he was very impressed with the work of Charles Higueras over the 12 year period he was Commissioner and Steve Coulter who has many more years on the Commission and said he tried to be fair and keep the goals of the Commission in mind.† He said Helen Bautista is such a delight.† He said it has been a pleasure serving with all three of these Commissioners.


Commissioner Kane said thank you to the Commissioners for their leadership and he said this Library is in a position today that would not be possible without their long service.


MOTION: by Commissioner Lee, seconded by Commissioner Del Portillo, to approve the resolutions honoring former Library Commissioners Bautista, Coulter and Higueras.†


AYES: 6-0 (Del Portillo, Gomez, Harris, Kane, Lee and Munson).


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, thanked the former Commissioners for all of their support


President Gomez said she would like to move items 5 and 6 approval of the minutes of January 3 and January 17 to the end of the meeting so that members of the community would be able to participate in the following items.




Luis Herrera, City Librarian, explained the background on the Bayview Branch and said that this branch is critical to the community and provides an active outreach and special programs component.† He said that the budget for this branch was increased from $3.6 million to $9.8 million in March 2007.


Marilyn Thompson, Bond Program Manager, said that the Bayview Branch library deserved a new expanded vision and with the passage of Prop D they began feasibility studies with the firm of Thomas Hacker Architects, a nationally renowned design architect in association with a local firm Karin Payson architecture + design.† She said presenting a range of design options today is Kacey Jurgens, Principal Architect for Thomas Hacker.† She said Karin Payson is also in the audience.† She said this is the same design team that completed the successful renovation of the West Portal branch library.


Kacey Jurgens said this project is in the predesign stage.† She said they are looking at four different options for the site and explained each floor plan option. †She also showed photographs of the existing site and the existing floor plan.† She said the existing building presents a lot of challenges for expansion.† She said a new building on the site would present a lot more flexibility in design. She said the preferred options are Option B a two-story building on the existing site or Option D a one-story building with the acquisition of the adjacent property.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian said the staff has had very good discussions with the architectural team and said they agreed that Options B and D were the preferred options.† He said staff would like the Commission to narrow it down to those two options.† He said they would continue to meet with the community and to get more cost estimates for the two options.


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said it would be nice if the public could use PowerPoint presentations as well.† He said he was concerned with changing the order of the agenda and that he was concerned that the item on the agenda did not include a description of the design options and that it might include a totally new building.† He said two of the options before the Commission are to destroy the current building.† He said the name of the branch is the Bayview/Anna E. Waden branch library. †He said one of the options includes a basement plan and that is a concern.† He said there is no square footage or book capacity listed for the options.


Chris Buck, Citizens Advisory Committee to the Redevelopment Agency for Bayview/Hunters Point Project Area Committee (PAC), said he was not speaking on behalf of the PAC but he is the Chair of the Education Committee for the PAC.† He said he would like the Commission to think big for this library.† He said there are huge opportunities for this community.† He said having as many services as possible in this neighborhood would help with some of the crime and other issues in the area.† He said there are other projects planned for the area and he would suggest contacting leaders in the community.† He said he prefers Option D but Option B would be acceptable.


Cathy Bremer, representing Labor Union SEIU 1021, said the existing building needs to be torn down.† She said it is an ugly and insulting building.† She said the branch does not get used as much as it should because it is not an inviting building.† She said to think big and go with Option D.


Ruth Gravitt said she lives in the area and is a voracious reader and she said staff is always marvelous at the branch.† She said she would like the bond money spent on the most comfortable and attractive facility possible and she thinks only a new library would provide that.


James Greenblat said he grew up in Ingleside utilizing the Ingleside branch.† He said if they could purchase property to upgrade that facility the same could be done for this branch.† He said he agreed with Options B and D.


Peter Warfield said it seems there is some material missing.† He said the things missing in the options were the numbers of books and book capacity.† He asked what the book capacity would be under each option.† He asked about the reference desks, meeting rooms, etc.† He said that should be a key element.† He said there was no budget amount for each of the options.† He said while Prop D was passed in November and it set up a mechanism under which bonds could be approved by the Supervisors and Mayor if the Commission recommended it, no such action has been taken and there are supposed to be restrictions on the availability of bond repayment funding. †He said he would like to make sure funding is available.


Toni Bernardi, Chief of Children and Youth Services, read a statement on behalf of the Jumpstart Western Regional Office and the Department of Children, Youth and their Familiesí Early Literacy Initiative in support of the Bayview library. †Speaking for herself she said that the children of any community as well as the adults deserve a building that they can enter into with joy and excitement.


Noelle Hanrahan said she lives in Bayview/Hunter Point.† She said she goes to the library with her children every week.† She said the librarians there are amazing.††† She said she is excited about the new building but she is concerned that there will be a period of time without a physical library in the community.† She said it is important especially for this community that they have an actual library building during the time the new library is being built.†


Miriam Pavis said she has been a resident of the Bayview area since 1948.† She said she supports demolishing the existing building and building a new one.† She said the community needs more meetings on this, but that she thinks Option D is the best.


Larry Ware, Neighborhood Council and the founder of the poetry program, said he had lived in the area since 1957 and is a native son.† He said Bayview needs a new library and he recited a poem to show what the neighborhood and community means to him.†


Walter Johnson said he was an 18 year resident of Bayview/Hunters Point and said he was a retired probation officer so he knows what happens when kids go astray.† He said the community is being revitalized and it does need a new library.† He said he supports Option D and likes the idea of having the library on one floor.† He gave praise to Linda Brooks Burton and the staff at Bayview.


Rhonda, a Bayview resident, said that the staff does a fantastic job.† She said she supports Option D.† She said she supports making the library a green building and supports a temporary building while the new facility is being built.


Linda Brooks-Burton, Manager of the Bayview branch, said her staff is excited about the possibility of a brand new building and the possibility of expanding into the adjacent building site.† She said the existing building has many challenges including poor ventilation, plumbing, lighting, work space and public restrooms.† She said if it could be a green building that would be great.††† She said community meetings will be very important and she said she supports Option D.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Kane said the Commission occasionally has meetings at the branch libraries.† †He said the Commission had a meeting at the Bayview branch and it is a truly wonderful community and active branch.† He said his understanding was the action before the Commission today was to give direction to the staff on the options before them.† He said this community has many at risk kids and is far from downtown.† He said he supports Option D but says he knows the budget will need to be considered.† He said he would like to have an Option E which would be to look at other properties in the area.† He said he would like the library to look at Options B and D as well as looking at the possibility of other properties in the area.


Commissioner Del Portillo thanked the chair for moving this item up on the agenda so that members of the public could be heard.† She said the options are a rough design.† She said the issue seems to be whether to keep the existing building and remodel it or to demolish it and build a new building on the site.† She said we should think big for this community.† She said we need to think beyond what is planned.† She said possibly there could be the library on the ground floor and perhaps commercial or offices on the second floor.†


Commissioner Lee said hearing the public comment was very informative.† He said the budget was increased from $3.6 million to $9.8 million and asked when that increase occurred.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian said the initial budget of $3.6 million was in 2000 and it was increased in March 2007 to $9.8 million.


Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian said normally the staff does not bring the predesign phase to the Commission.† It was brought in this case because of the possibility of acquiring the adjacent space.


Kacey Jurgens, architect, spoke regarding the issues that were looked at in the predesign including programming space.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian said the square footage would be between 8500 and 10,500, which would be comparable to the larger branches in the BLIP.


Commissioner Lee said ideally he likes Option D if you can acquire the adjacent property. †††


Commissioner Munson said he likes the idea of looking at alternative locations as well.


Luis Herrera said we are thinking big for this branch.† He said the staff would like to narrow this down to two options so that we can be realistic about the budget.† He said staff will look at other locations but not to the extent it would cause delays in the project.† He said this site meets the needs of the community.


Commissioner Lee said he was concerned about the budget for this project and the negotiations with the adjacent property owner.


Commissioner Harris said we want this to be the best possible library and he said it looks like we are on moving in the right direction.


Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said that the building will be built to the LEED Silver standard.


MOTION: by Commissioner Kane, seconded by Commissioner Del Portillo to direct staff to continue working on Options B and D as presented today along with a parallel option of possibly purchasing and developing an alternate property for the building.


AYES: 6-0 (Del Portillo, Gomez, Harris, Kane, Lee and Munson).





Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said staff will be presenting the FY08/09 budget for review and approval.


Maureen Singleton, Budget Manager, said that there have been minor clerical edits to the handouts and that the copies had been provided to the Commission and additional copies were in the back for the public.† She said the final proposed FY 08-09 budget totals $81,650,197, which includes an operating budget of $79,580,197, a capital project program of $70,000 and an advance of the Visitacion Valley Impact Fees of $2,000,000 for the Branch Library Improvement Program.† She went over the breakdown of the budget and explained some of the highlights of the budget.† She said the next steps are the submission of the budget to the Controllerís Office by February 21, 2008 and submission of the budget to the Mayorís Office by March 1, 2008.


Luis Herrera said there is another revision which came in late so it is not part of the packets.† He said after a discussion with the new Superintendent of Schools it is clear that in order to insure that we have staff to go out for training with students and teachers; we are proposing to add a student support specialist position.† He said it would be approximately $89,000 to add this Librarian II position.


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said the slides were informative and it would be nice if the public were allowed to use them.† He said the reserve has been differentiated into two sections.† He said there is a fund reserve and a cash reserve.† He said he supposes that the Library is proposing to spend the cash reserve.† He said there is no specificity about what the $3.99 million is going to be spent on.† He said there is $12.5 million carried forward that does not include the $3.99 million.† He said there is a $2 million transfer from the operating budget from the Library Preservation Fund to the BLIP, but it is called an advance, so he asked what was going to happen with that money.


Peter Warfield said it looks like a very healthy increase in the book budget and he is glad to see that.† He said it would be helpful to see how much of this budget is going to increased hours since this is a priority.† He said there is a line item for $21,000 for Link+ courier services.† He said this does not reflect all of the costs related to Link+.† He said in December there had been a report on Link+ and he would like to see money in the budget to reduce the costs to patrons of lost or damaged books in the program.


Cathy Bremer, representing SEIU Union 1021 Library workers, said last month they had brought up budget change proposal number 12 and said that the union did not like the language in that.† She said she is happy to see that the budget has changed so that $100,000 is no longer in the budget for subcontracting out to do some of the cataloging and that the staff will be looking at ways to do this in house.


Sue Cauthen, Library Citizens Advisory Committee (LCAC), said the LCAC did talk about Link+ at their last meeting and she said they were told the total cost of the program is $30,000.† She said LCAC is concerned about the fines for lost or damaged books in the program.†


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Del Portillo said she is glad that the union representative was able to work with the City Librarian to resolve the contracting out issue.† She said the budget process is going to be difficult and she hopes that we will come together and support the proposed budget to the Mayor and Board of Supervisors.


Commissioner Kane said the Library is lucky to have the Library Preservation Fund.† He said the book budget is very healthy.† He asked about the expanded hours and how many branches will still only be open five days.


Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said that with this proposed budget there will be only four remaining branches that are only open five days and three of those will be closing for renovations this fiscal year.†


Commissioner Kane asked what we could do to have that one remaining five day branch open six days.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said staff will look into that request.


MOTION: by Commissioner Del Portillo, seconded by Commissioner Munson, to approve the proposed budget as presented and to explore the feasibility of adding an additional day at the Golden Gate Valley branch so that it is open six days a week.


AYES: 6-0 (Del Portillo, Gomez, Harris, Kane, Lee and Munson).




Luis Herrera, City Librarian said in commemoration of Black History Month we have an update on the African American Center, which the library is very proud of.


Stewart Shaw, African American Center Librarian, gave an update on programs and exhibits in 2007.† He said he had the opportunity to work with the Museum of African Diaspora (MOAD) and the Treasure Island Homeless Development Initiative as part of the Centerís outreach.† He said there were 22 programs and 6 exhibits last year.† He said there are many exhibits and programs including reading programs in the upcoming year.


Luis Herrera said the next item he wanted to report on was the Benefit Study of the SFPL which was done in conjunction with the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.


Donna Bero, Friends of the Library, gave the executive summary of the study, which was done by Berk & Associates, a national research firm.†† She said the study was done in response to a city-wide forum on the role and relevance of the library to the community.† She said the report describes and, when possible, quantifies the value which the library system provides to the San Francisco community.†† She said the report found that San Francisco does three things amazingly well including education, immigrant services and support for the economic health of the city.† She said for every dollar that the city puts into the public library system more than three dollars worth of value comes out.† She explained a graph that was prepared for the study that shows the qualitative and quantifiable benefits.†


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said the study is an amazing tool for both the local and national level to promote what the library does.† He said he has been appointed to the California Council for the Humanities (CCH) and his role will be to talk about libraries in the context of CCHís role as the leading provider of humanities programming for the general public in California.


Kathy Lawhun, Chief of Main, described the Customer Satisfaction Survey, which is available on the Libraryís website.† She explained how the survey works and the types of questions on the survey.† She said they will report back to the Commission on the results.† She said it will help with benchmarking as well.


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said he was shocked that we didnít hear about the opening of the Western Addition branch.† He said the highlights about the African American center were very interesting.† He said he was shocked about a finished report on the benefits study.† He said policies of the Friends and Foundation are that books are an outmoded technology and that the library should be a source for party rentals, fees for service, RFID, etc.† He said the reason this is a public institution is that the public can express its will.


Peter Warfield said he is very concerned that there is a major study and the public does not have a copy of the executive study nor the full report.† He said he requests a copy of these items and he thinks it would be appropriate to have these available to the public well in advance.† He said he hasnít seen the Commission discuss the objectives and goals which were part of the study.† He said the Library Satisfaction Survey in the past was based on the fill rate.† He said the Commission has not discussed the current survey.



Commission Discussion


Commissioner Del Portillo asked for a copy of the full report and the executive summary of the Berk benefit study.†


Commissioner Kane asked whether the Library Satisfaction Survey replaces the traditional paper survey which has been done in the past and if the questions are similar to the ones in the past.


Kathy Lawhun, Chief of Main, said that the survey will be produced in paper twice a year.† She said it will also be available in Chinese, Spanish and Russian.


Commissioner Kane clarified that the Commission will still get an annual report on the results of the survey.†




Donna Bero, Friends of the Library, said the Friends wanted to commend everyone involved in the opening of the Western Addition Branch.† She said the Bernal Heights closing party will be Saturday, February 9; the Ingleside groundbreaking will be on Friday, February 15, the closing party for the Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Memorial will be on Saturday March 1 and the Noe Valley/Sally Brunn branch reopening is on Saturday March 8.† She encouraged everyone to attend and said they are great community festivals.† She said Friends are also working on Poets Eleven, and a series on foreign language poetry readings.


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said there hasnít been anything about the Public Comment Fund in a while.† He said from 1978 Ė 1992 he published a newsletter on library affairs.† He said essays from his newsletter have been selected by an anthology of the best of alternative library literature four times.† He said people who have read that have thought that San Francisco is so lucky to have a debate.† He said they do not know that his comments are dismissed because he does not agree with the Friends.†


Commission Discussion


President Gomez said that the public comment fund was started by a member of the public not by the Friends.




There was no labor union report.





Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said these minutes are not too bad but there are a few grammatical errors.† He said on the first page he talked about the institutional memory and he said the reason he talked about that was completely left out of the minutes.


Peter Warfield said these are very good minutes but he wanted to be very clear on what he had said with regard to the Link+ fee. He said his comments on page 2 relating to approval of the December 6 minutes were not clear that he was referring to the high fees for the Link+ program.


MOTION: by Commissioner Del Portillo, seconded by Commission Munson, to approve the minutes of January 3, 2008.


AYES: 6-0 (Del Portillo, Gomez, Harris, Kane, Lee and Munson).




Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said these minutes are much more problematic probably because there are much more controversial subjects.† He said on page seven the anonymous citizen had made two significant points about the Fuhrman Fund that were not clearly noted.† He said on page one the point he made about the reason why the presiding officer needs to be a continuing member and why the elected President could be a newly appointed member was not clarified.


Peter Warfield said that it is important and valuable to have good minutes so he said he would urge the Commission to consider seriously all of the public comments made at the meetings.† He said on page 7 he was talking about a major discrepancy in the cost for the first floor renovation.† He said the question he was asking was whether the new cost reported was accurate and if so that was a large discrepancy.


MOTION: by Commissioner Del Portillo, seconded by Commissioner Munson, to approve the minutes of January 17, 2008.


AYES: 6-0 (Del Portillo, Gomez, Harris, Kane, Lee and Munson).




Commissioner Del Portillo said she would like the Commission to discuss at another meeting having a specific item on the agenda for Commissioner reports. ††She said she thought staff and the public would like to hear the things the different Commissioners are involved in.† She also invited everyone to the opening of the new City College Mission Campus on February 20.


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said that Commissioner reports would be helpful and said this would be justification for a committee structure.† He said it would be helpful to hear what the Commissioners are doing.


Peter Warfield said he thought the suggestion to have Commissioner reports on the agenda was a good one.





Public Comment


There was no public comment on this item.


MOTION: by Commissioner Munson, seconded by Commissioner Lee, to adjourn the regular meeting of Thursday, February 7, 2008.


AYES: 6-0 (Del Portillo, Gomez, Harris, Kane, Lee and Munson).


The regular meeting of February 7, 2008, of the San Francisco Public Library Commission adjourned at 7:55 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 Libraryís website† 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).