(As approved at the regular meeting of April 3, 2008)


Minutes of the Regular Meeting of March 6, 2008


The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, March 6, 2008, at the Glen Park Branch Library.


The meeting was called to order at 4:39 pm.   


Commissioners present:  Chin, Del Portillo, Gomez, Harris, and Kane


Commissioner Munson entered the meeting at 5:10 pm.


Excused:  Commissioner Lee

President Gomez changed the order of the agenda requesting that Item No. 6 Collection Development Plan and Proposed Policy be heard prior to Item No. 5 Link+ Interlibrary Loan Programs.



An anonymous citizen said he has been referring to the intellectual model of the Commission system which is that the Commission is supposed to be interested in the truth and interested in those that bring it to you.  He said it was reported that San Francisco was the seventh most literate city in the U.S., but he said the library system was a drag on that rating.  He said public officials need to hear the truth so that I and other people can tell it to you.


Peter Warfield said the annual training that the City Attorney provides to Commissioners was held earlier this week and he was glad to see some people he knew.  He said it was a worthwhile presentation and was pleased to note that the City Attorney’s rule was to disclose information and it is the unusual case where you do not.  He said the Sunshine Task Force has heard a number of complaints about the Library and found a number of violations in the past.  He said he hopes the Library in the future will have a better record on that.  He said the Bay Guardian has nominated what they call the Sunshine Posse for an award by the Society of Professional Journalists and he said he is glad to say he is a part of the Sunshine Posse.





Public Comment


An anonymous citizen gave a few examples of problems with these minutes.  He said the public comment on page 2 describes some of the comments he made but that the point he was trying to make was completely left out of the description.  He said on the Item honoring former Library Commissioners the former Commissioners were listed as speaking under Public Comment when they were actually not timed as public comment. 


Peter Warfield said that he hopes the members of the Commission will consider the opportunity to do some good on many matters but with the minutes in particular.  He said the minutes are the Library Commission’s record of what has happened.  He said they are your document and you can change them, correct them or augment them.  In addition, to being your history they should also be beneficial to yourselves.  Unfortunately at times the minutes have reported inaccurately or vaguely.  He said he would like to see more detail under public comment.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Chin said that the minutes need to reflect accurately the actions of the Commission.  She said the Commission needs to be looking forward.


Commissioner Del Portillo said that in order to avoid leaving out things and to please the general public and Commissioners we have two options.  She said one option would be to do verbatim minutes from the tape or the second option would be to have the tapes available for anyone to view.  She said it is unreasonable to expect to have the minutes meet everyone’s expectations. 


Sue Blackman, Commission Secretary, said that copies of the DVDs and tapes are available to the public and are the official record of the meetings.  She said the minutes are supposed to be summaries of what was said at the meeting.


President Gomez said that this has been an ongoing discussion by the Commission for a long time.


Commissioner Del Portillo said that some sort of decision needs to be made on this issue.


MOTION: by Commissioner Chin, seconded by Commissioner Del Portillo, to approve the minutes of February 7, 2008.


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




Luis Herrera, City Librarian, welcomed the Commission to Glen Park.  He said the closing of the Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Branch Library was held the past weekend and that former Commissioner Steve Coulter was also honored at that event.  He thanked the Friends of the Library for putting on the event.  He said that branch closing represents the fifth branch library that is under construction.  He said when a branch is closed there are temporary services available for the area and there is a brochure explaining those services.  He said he wanted to invite everyone to the opening of the Noe Valley branch on March 8.  He said it is a Carnegie Library and is absolutely stunning.


Brian Bannon, Chief of Branches, said that Denise Sanderson, Branch Manager Glen Park was very instrumental in the transition to this new site and he thanked her for her help in getting the new branch open.  He said the former branch was there for about 30 years and it was the smallest branch in the system at about 1400 – 1500 sq. ft.  The new branch is six times the size of the old one.  He said it is a library the neighborhood deserves.  He said the collection was increased from 20,000 to 36,000.  He said the neighborhood is full of families.


Denise Sanderson, Glen Park Branch Manager, said she is incredibly proud of this library.  She said circulation last year in the old branch was 9,160 and last month it was 17,788.  She said they had 125 patron visits per day last year and it currently is approximately 450.  She said last February card registration was 45 and this year it was 136.  She said programming has drastically changed, increased and improved.  She said additionally there is a new Glen Park Branch blog.


Commissioner Munson entered the meeting.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian said that the Library and Department of Public Works are continuing to work and make revisions on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).  He said the control reports in the document are being implemented.


Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said some of the reports detailed in the MOU that are currently being used include the detailed project schedules, and the cost control documents. 


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said that once the next draft is complete it will be brought back to the Commission for review. 


Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, gave a presentation on the Green Libraries Initiative.  She gave some background and explained the Library’s partnership with the Department of the Environment.  She explained how the Green Libraries Initiative relates to our facilities and said there would be branch report cards and sustainable maintenance practices.  She said there is a new Green Branch Bookmobile, a plug-in hybrid vehicle and most of the vehicles run on biodiesel and CNG engines.  She said there are also efforts being made in the Library’s collections and programs.


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said he notes that there was not a Deputy City Attorney present and if she had been there he was sure that she would have told the Commission that it was not appropriate to have a discussion of the minutes’ policy during discussion of the adoption of the minutes.  He said the Glen Park branch is a beautiful branch.  He said the Green Libraries Initiative presentation was very interesting but he hopes that the library will continue to show all sides of the subject.


Peter Warfield said he is glad that the green initiatives are being discussed and that he hopes the Commission will ask what the rating for the Excelsior branch is for its green features.  He said as a matter of policy it seems that a policy decision has been made on the certification level that the branch libraries will meet but it has not been discussed at the Commission.  He said the Commission should discuss what the level of certifications are and the costs involved.  He said the MOU with DPW and the Library should come back to the Commission as an action item. 


Norah Dowley, member of the Council of Neighborhood Libraries representing the Glen Park branch said she had been active on the Capital Campaign Committee.  She said the neighbors in the area had requested a plaque be placed downstairs honoring the family who had built the building and rented it to the library under market rate  She said she hoped that plaque would still be done.  She was glad the Commission had come to visit the branch and said she hoped they would come back.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Del Portillo said Glen Park was her neighborhood and that she worked on the Capital Campaign for the Glen Park branch and she said it was the first time she had seen the neighborhood come together with such a tremendous sense of pride.


Commissioner Chin said the library is about people who love to read, love books and love learning and it is a place for people to come to enjoy being part of a community.  She said we do need to have organizations such as the Friends of the Library to help us have these great libraries.


Commissioner Kane thanked staff for arranging for the meeting at the branch and acknowledged that it is a lot of work to set up.  He said he does think it is important to visit the various branches as much as possible.


Commissioner Chin left the meeting at 5:35 pm.


Commissioner Del Portillo said that the new Mission College campus is a green building and that she understands that LEED certification buildings have a cost involved.


Jill Bourne, Deputy City Attorney, said that there is a cost involved in LEED certification and the library is looking at ways to have the buildings as green as possible and meet the LEED Silver certification whenever possible.




Donna Bero, Friends of the Library, said the debate and the court hearing on same sex marriage this week was very interesting and it was great to see a line around the Main Library with people waiting to get in to view the proceedings in the Koret.  She said it reminded her of the importance of the library in supporting privacy, freedom, and individual rights.  She said Friends is thrilled that the library is being so forward thinking with the green libraries initiatives and the Friends would like to offer any support they can give in this regard.  She said the furnishings which are purchased by the Friends for the branches provide a model of sustainability and are as green as possible. She encouraged everyone to attend the reopening of the Noe Valley branch on Saturday.  She wanted to remind people that this year’s Laureates Dinner will be on April 18 in the Main Library and the theme this year is Noir in the City.


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said there was no mention of the public comment fund.  He said truth and decency don’t matter in the face of money.  He said money has had a deleterious effect at every level.




Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said this is a first for the Library and the plan truly represents the effort of quite a few individuals who have worked on this over the last years.  He said the plan will be discussed at this meeting and that there is a policy attached to the plan that the Commission will be asked to take action on at a future meeting.


Marcia Schneider, Chief of Communications, Collections and Adult Services, said the development of this plan has included many people over the last couple of years.  She said this was an effort in development across all divisions of the library.   She said this is the first time a Collection Development Plan has been before the Commission and the first time it can be found on the Library’s website.  She showed the web based version and explained that there are over 400 links to other documents. She said the Plan includes descriptions of all of the collections in the Main Library, the branches, children’s collections, teen collections and electronic resources collections and gave highlights of the Plan.  She said collection maintenance and evaluation information is also on the site.  She said there is also a draft policy statement and she doesn’t believe one has ever been brought to the Library Commission before.  She said the proposed policy includes a reaffirmation of the Commission’s support of the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read Statement and Freedom to View Statement.  She said the policy will be brought back at a future meeting for further discussion and possible action.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said that the Library serves a very diverse community and that is why this tool is so necessary and is a framework for oversight on how we spend the budget for the collection.   


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said he is gratified that this policy will come back to the Commission for action.  He said he would have liked to have heard how this plan compares with the existing Collection Development Plan.  He said when you look at the list of collections there is no priority level listed.  He will look at the previous plan and see how it compares with this one.


Peter Warfield said this looks like it takes a great deal of effort.  He said he wishes the PowerPoint presentation was available in advance of the meeting because this is a considerable amount of information.  He said he has a number of concerns.  He asked about the collection levels that are being applied to the various collections.  He asked how this compares to the previous collection development plan.  He said there is no reference to a financial barrier to access and he referred to Policy 61 of the American Library Association (ALA) which relates to service to poor people.


Deborah Doyle said that staff should be congratulated on their work on this.  She said she remembers discussion about a collection development plan in 1993 and that one never became official.  She said she is studying for a library degree and one of her assignments was to develop a collection development plan.  She said she has learned that the first principles and the appendices to the plan are critical.


Melissa Riley, said she was on the collections committee and she is also a member of the Executive Board of the Librarian’s Guild.  She said that there is a part of our reference manual that is the ALA Code of Ethics that probably should be added to the plan.  She said the ALA Core Values probably should be added as well.  She said that the library does an excellent job at preventing fines and fees from being levied that would be discriminatory.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Kane thanked staff for all their work on this.  He asked how the priorities of the collection are determined.


Marcia Schneider, Chief of Communications, Collections and Adult Services said that priorities are set by looking at usage, demographics and need and it is a priority to look at supporting children and teens.


Commissioner Kane asked about how the budget is calculated based on the priorities.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said that staff go through the collections and allocates funds based on priorities.


Marcia Schneider said that there is a section on the materials budget allocation in the plan.  She said staff does sit down annually to discuss and determine the allocations.  She said the library is lucky to have a City Librarian, Deputy City Librarian and Library Commission who are supportive of the growth of the collection fund.


Commissioner Kane said with respect to periodicals, magazines, etc. there are now a lot of online magazines, newspapers, blogs, etc and he wonders how those things are being collected and preserved.  He said it is important to look towards the future.


Luis Herrera said staff is grappling with that as well and staff is continuing to look at that. 


President Gomez said she wondered about the process for reconsidering items that are in the collection.


Marcia Schneider said there is a form that can be filled out when someone questions the collection and is not satisfied with the response from the Collections Division.  She said they may be reviewing that process.  She said she had only been through the process one time and explained what had happened at that time.




Kathy Lawhun, Chief of Main, said the Interlibrary Loan (ILL) Program is located in the Main Library in the Information Services Department.  She said there were a core five people staffing this and they deal with between 30,000 – 50,000 requests a year. 


Michael Hudson, Information Services and ILL Librarian, said this is a resource program for our patrons and the types of material available are books, photocopies of articles, microfilm of newspapers and academic dissertations.  He said the policies for the Ill are set by the Interlibrary Loan Committee and part of the American Library Association.  He said there are two systems in place:  Link+ and Interlibrary Loan.  He explained both programs and the differences between the two.  He said the resources available through SFPL includes 2+ million books, Interlibrary Loan includes 7,500 libraries and 72+ million books and Link+  has 50 libraries and 23+million books.  He said 27,553 Link+ books have been loaned to date since February, 2007.   He said there have been many positive comments regarding Link+.


Vivian Pisano, Chief of Information Technology, highlighted some additional differences between Link+ and ILL such as arrival speed, loan period, overdue fines, etc.


Kathy Lawhun, Chief of Main, said the access to many research and special libraries and genealogy societies expands the breadth and width of collections for our patrons.


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said he is wondering what the librarians in the audience are thinking knowing that much of what has been said is not true.  He said his understanding about the Interlibrary Loan is that it is a multi-level system that was designed at the state level.  He said it is up to the statewide library community to make sure that the system is responsive and effective.  He said the idea that Interlibrary Loan is going to solve all your problems is very controversial. 


Peter Warfield said many years ago when he first used Interlibrary Loan, it was a kind of magic when the book arrived a few weeks later.  He said Interlibrary Loan has been a tremendous boon to him as a patron.   He said he is very concerned with some of the material in respect to Link+.  He said Link+ is grossly inferior in its comprehensiveness and in its scope to the traditional Interlibrary Loan collection.  He said Link+ does have positive aspects but he is concerned that speed, convenience and automation are trumping comprehensiveness and depth in the search for materials.


Melissa Riley, said as a librarian that she urged the Commission to try to find a book at the library and then to see a librarian and go through Link+ or Interlibrary Loan and see how works for yourself.  She said it is not a rivalry between the two systems.   


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Kane said that the real issue is the fees and fines.  He asked if the fine under Link+ for lost or damaged material is up to $115 or replacement of the book.


Kathy Lawhun, Chief of Main, said yes and that has been changed from the beginning when Link+ first started.  The consortium has since changed it from a flat fee to negotiated or replacement.  She said there have been four books lost in the system to date and three of them were negotiated down and staff is still negotiating the fourth.


Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said staff will be back to the Commission with a full discussion of fines and fees at a later date.  




Melissa Riley said there is no labor union report other than to thank the Commissioners for their great efforts and the union appreciates the enormous amount of time and effort put into the task.


Peter Warfield said the policy has changed on the Link+ policy.




MOTION: by Commissioner Munson, seconded by Commissioner Harris to adjourn the regular meeting of Thursday, March 6, 2008.


Public Comment


There was no public comment on this item.


MOTION: by Commissioner Munson, seconded by Commissioner Harris to adjourn the regular meeting of Thursday, March 6, 2008.


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


The regular meeting of March 6, 2008, of the San Francisco Public Library Commission adjourned at 6:55 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 Library’s 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).