Minutes of the regular meeting of Thursday, March 16, 2006.

(As approved April 20, 2006)

The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, March 16, 2006 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.


The meeting was called to order by Vice President Coulter s at 4:03 pm.


Commissioners present: Bautista, Coulter, Gomez, and Strobin.

President Higueras, and Commissioners Chin and Kane’s arrival was expected.

 A quorum was present.


Commissioner Chin joined the meeting at 4:10pm





An anonymous member of the public commented on: opposition to the Friends of the Library, divergent views concerning the destruction of the Brazilian rainforests; our negative role in the world environment; the issue of private money subverting public policy; the privatization of the of the ‘commons”; and the relationship of this to the privatization of the Library.



Peter Warfield commented on: his concerns with the increasing amounts of Library materials only available on an online basis; and what he viewed as problematic associated user issues.


Mr. Kimo Crossman commented on: the observance of National Sunshine Week, his views concerning open government and meeting laws; and his concerns with the Library’s response to public records requests he had submitted.


                        Ms.  Deirdre Hockett, Friends of the Library Board, called attention to upcoming 10th

Anniversary Library Laureates Dinner, and discussed the Friends participation in the upcoming California Library Association Lobby Day in Sacramento on April 26th and the Friends active support for the voters’ enactment of Prop. 81,  a new State Library Bond proposal.


Brock Estes, a School Bus Driver’s Union member and 4th generation San Franciscan,

commented on: what he viewed as a “colonial” process in responding to demands concerning the Bernal Heights Preschool; his views concerning the conduct of a community meeting held to discuss the renovation of the Bernal Heights Branch Library; and what he perceived as discourtesy to those opposing the Library’s plans.


Mr. David Pilpel, Sunshine Task Force Education and Outreach Committee Chair, commented on: the Library’s ongoing response to members of the public; that in such a decision making process the critical public interest should always be kept in mind; and that the Commission should not hesitate to act to maintain order at its meetings when threatened by a disruptive member of the public.


Ms. Molly Martin, a 25 year Bernal Heights resident and neighborhood preservationist, commented on: the importance of preservation of the Bernal Heights Branch Library’s historical finishing and furnishings; and on the importance to the community of the Library’s Community Meeting Room. 


Ms. Katie Gough commented on: her emphatic disagreement about the Bernal Heights community meeting with a previous public speaker’s negative comments; and suggested that opponents of the Library’s renovation plan made false accusations, and had a subjective agenda.


Ms. Lurilla Harris, a 31 year Bernal Heights resident; commented on the demonstration held in conjunction with the Bernal Heights Brach Library renovation project community meeting.


Vice President Coulter announced that Approval of the Minutes would be taken up later in the meeting’s agenda after the Bernal Heights Branch Library item in deference to the large numbers of members of the public in attendance to offer comments on that item.





Branch Library Improvement Program Manager Marilyn Thompson presented a background and overview of the development of plans for the renovation of the Bernal Heights Branch Library, (copy of presentation slides attached). Ms. Thompson discussed in some detail the situation regarding the City College Preschool and its relocation to a larger space at the nearby Paul Revere Elementary School.  Ms. Thompson outlined the goals of the renovation project and described how those goals might be met within the project’s budget.


City Librarian Luis Herrera then outlined the Library’s services plan for the renovated branch library including creation of a dedicated “teen space”; an increase in computer access, and enlarged children’s area, as well as his recommendation that a reconfigured Community Room be retained. The City Librarian then discussed the Library’s efforts in cooperation with the Department of Children, Youth, and their Families, and City College of San Francisco to facilitate the Bernal Preschool’s transition to its new location.


Ms. Thompson then outlined various scenarios including the location of space potentially available for co-location of the Preschool in a new separate facility.


The City Librarian concluded the report with his recommendation that the Commissioners approve the proposed scope, budget, and schedule for as planned for the renovation of the Bernal Heights Branch Library. Mr. Herrera also recommended the Commission’s consideration of the possibility for collocation of the Preschool under acceptable guidelines.




An anonymous member of the public commented on: that this renovation project had been a disaster from its beginnings; suggested that the Preschool had been excluded from the process; on divisions in the community resulting from this dispute; and about the importance of respect and democracy.


Mr. Peter Wiley, author, A parent, founder of a community daycare center, and a 38 year Bernal Heights resident commented on: reconciling the community concerns through an expanded Preschool located at the Revere School; found the possible co-location worthy of consideration; and urged the Commission to actively engage City College so that they took responsibility for taking care of their preschool program.


Commissioner Kane joined the meeting at 4:47PM.


Mr. Carey Milne, Bernal Heights resident commented: in support of the planned renovation of the branch library; in opposition to any action leading to reduction of the library’s programs; and encouraged active efforts to preserve the historical appearance, decorative features, and especially the furnishing of the Bernal heights Branch Library.


Ms. Lurilla Harris, community activist, commented on: the need for, value of, and importance of including solar power installations on the renovated branch; questioned the size of the proposed ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) access ramp; and found that the Library was not an appropriate location for the City College Preschool program.


Mr. Brock Estes, School Bus Driver’s Union member, commented: that opponents of the Library were not liars, that the City Librarian had not treated the Preschool proponents well at the community meeting; about a previous Revere School Principal and that the Paul Revere School was a failing school that was at high risk to be closed, and thus was not a good option for the Preschool.


Mr. Mauricio Vela; “Save the Preschool-Stop the Eviction”, commented on: the difficult and healthy process surrounding the planning for renovation of the Branch Library and the future of the City College Preschool Program; that proponents of the Preschool also supported the Branch Library; that there were serious concerns with the use of the Paul Revere School as the alternative home for the Preschool, that Preschool proponents appreciated the opportunity to consider future co-location at the Branch Library; and that the community would continue to actively engaged the Mayor’s Office and Supervisor Ammiano to find the best solution for the neighborhood. 


Ms. Miriam Muller, a Bernal Heights neighbor, urged the Commission start this project and not to delay until the Preschool Program was ready, but to move forward with the renovation of the Bernal Heights Branch Library as planned.


                        President Higueras joined the meeting at 4:55pm and assumed the Chair.


                        Mr. Peter Warfield commented on: the focus on the Preschool Program‘s relocation;

                        about the future of the Preschool Program at its alternative location; and asked about the

                        timeline for this process.


Ms. Laverne Fisher, a 25 year Bernal Heights resident, commented on: the long wait the neighborhood had experienced for the renovation of its Branch Library; urged the Commissioners to act to go forward with the renovation as planned; and suggested that the opponents of Library’s planned renovation had political motives.


Ms. Ellen Egbert, a Bernal Heights civic activist, commented on: her appreciation of the Library’s efforts to renovate the Bernal Heights Branch Library; and noted that the Preschool Program served a very limited number of children for very limited numbers of hours each week in contrast to the great many neighborhood children who used the Branch Library during all of its open hours.


Ms. Vicky Walker, a five year Bernal Heights resident; commented on: the unbalanced coverage of this issue in the Bernal Journal; on what she found to be its censorship of the proponents of the Branch Library’s renovation; that the leadership of the Neighborhood Community Center had become partisans in this disagreement; that threats had been made against  proponents of the Branch Library’s renovation; and that City College not the Library, should pay any costs related to its’ Preschool Program.


Mr. David Turner, a Bernal Heights resident, submitted a letter in support of the renovation of the Branch Library.


Ms. Rosanne Liggett, Bernal Heights resident, commented on: her strong support for the renovation of the Branch Library; that City College had been remiss in its duty to its Preschool Program; that there was no rationale for opposing the Preschool’s relocation as neighboring Paul Revere School was an excellent location for the Preschool Program; that she did not believe that the Paul Revere School would be closed; and in general expressed frustration at the negative tone expressed by the Preschool’s partisans.


Mr. Kimo Crossman commented on: Sunshine issues related to this matter; said that he would request all related public records and asked that they be provided in an electronic format; and supported use of solar panels.


Ms. Molly Martin, Preservation Bernal Heights Group, commented on: the importance of providing equal emphasis on both the adult and child users of the Branch Library; and urged on behalf of the Preservation Group that every effort be made to preserve the historic character and furnishings of the Bernal Heights Branch Library;


A Bernal Heights Resident noted that the Board of Supervisors had neither allowed nor taken any public comment when adopting their resolution on this issue; and that a relative few children used the Preschool Program in contrast to the great need for library services for the many children n the neighborhood.


Mr. Davis Hooper, an Excelsior District resident married to the Librarian of the Bernal Heights Branch Library, commented: that after its renovation the Excelsior Branch Library was thriving and that the same was certain to be the case at Bernal Heights; that the Branch Libraries were magnets for neighborhood users; and that this question was a matter of balancing the diverse needs of the neighborhood; and  suggested that both sides now needed to work together to heal divisions and build consensus.


Mr. Frank Martinez Campos, a member of the San Francisco Labor Council; commented on: the Labor Council’s support for the Board of Supervisors resolution on this issue; urged that the Preschool be returned to the Branch Library after its renovation; and that this was a watershed issue that should be addressed in response to the demands of the community.


Ms. Amy Trachtenberg, a longtime Bernal Heights resident, commented on: mistakes in addressing the Preschool’s returning to the Branch Library; urged that the renovation get underway as soon as possible; and urged that the building’s historic character and use as a branch library be retained.




Commissioner Bautista regretted the division in the neighborhood on this issue. Commissioner Bautista point out that the Commission had a duty to renovate the Branch Library, and that the College District, not the Library was responsible for its Preschool Program. Commissioner Bautista observed that it was critically important that the renovated branch have the best possible program of library services to meet the needs of both the adult and child users in its neighborhood. Commissioner Bautista recalled that as a teacher she understated the issues involved and knew that the library was critical resource for the community


Vice President Coulter inquired about use of solar panels on the renovated branch facility, and lauded that planned preservation of the historic character and features of the existing branch building.


Vice President Coulter recalled the extensive number of public meeting that had been held to discuss these issues, criticized City College for its lack of leadership when the controversy began, noted that the renovated branch Library would serve far greater numbers of children, found the Paul Revere School ad good and reasonable alternative location for the Preschool Program, and noted in the final analysis the Preschool’s students would also benefit as future users of their neighborhood library. The Commission Vice President supported the planned renovation of the Branch Library as proposed and expressed doubt as to the viability of the suggested potential for a future co-location.


Commissioner Gomez congratulated both sides in what she described as a lively community process noting both supported worthy goals. Commissioner Gomez expressed appreciation to the City Librarian for his efforts to seek a solution and noted that there was time for the Preschool to consider various options for its future. Commissioner Gomez urged that the community use the focus and energy generated by this issue to find a solution and urged that they keep trying.


Commissioner Kane noted that both he and his infant daughter had attended the lively community meeting; lauded the City Librarian’s efforts to make meaningful outreach to the community; and recommended that the renovation project go forward as quickly as possible.


Commissioner Chin noting that she was both a teacher and a longtime union member pointed out that the Commission’s duty was to seek a solution that was in the best interest of all of the children in the neighborhood. Commissioner Chin stated that the Revere School was the best location for the Preschool, that it offered space for the children that would never be possible at the Branch Library. Commissioner Chin recalled her familiarity with the work of the former principal of the Paul Revere School Randy Hayes, and noted that the new dynamic Principle at the Paul Revere School was committed to providing the highest quality education and that having the Preschool at the school site enhancing the learning environment of its students.


Commissioner Strobin noted that the discussion might be illuminated by the comments offer by the Peer Panelists in the upcoming Peer Review of the proposed renovation plans for the Bernal Heights Branch Library. 


President Higueras noted that the Library had made every possible effort to find a just and fair solution to this matter. The Commission President noted that it was the Commission’s duty to provide the best possible renovation for this branch and that the right thing to do was to focus on the Library. Mr. Higueras noted that the Revere School was a good location that offered more room and better facilities for the Preschool. The Library Commissioner President observed that the Commission was precluded by law from expending library resources for the Preschool Program and called attention to the lack of funding for this program in City College’s proposed budget. President Higueras suggested that there was sufficient time to consider the future potential for co-location of the Preschool at the Branch Library site and that proper and due consideration would be given should that option find the necessary funding to make it possible.


There followed an extensive discussion of various ways the motions on this question might be worded.


MOTION: by Vice President Coulter, 2nd by Commissioner Strobin for approval of the proposed scope, budget and schedule for the renovation of the Bernal Heights Branch Library as recommended.


ACTION: 7-0 AYE (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Gomez, Higueras, Kane, and Strobin)


MOTION: by Commissioner Gomez, 2nd by Commissioner Kane to cooperate with and explore City College’s consideration of collocation of the preschool, as long as the building or operation of the preschool does not impact library services, funds, and schedule, or the existing library.


ACTION: 4 AYE (Coulter, Gomez, Higueras, Kane) 3 NO (Bautista, Chin, Strobin)




Branch Library Improvement Program Manager Marilyn Thompson provided an overview of the issues involved with this renovation project and then introduced Bureau of Architecture Architect Andrew Maloney to present his proposed designs for the renovation.

The Commission repaired to the audience and the Peer Panelists took the stage for their review and response to Mr. Maloney’s proposed renovation plans for the Bernal Heights Branch Library


Mr. Maloney presented a detailed overview of the planned renovation of both floors as well as his proposed exterior modifications to the historic Bernal Height Branch Library.


Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood then presented the Library’s response to Mr. Maloney’s proposed designs.


Ms. Thompson then introduced the Peer Panel members: Ms. Sandra Vivanco, Mr. Lawson Willard, and noted that Mr. Byron Shiles, unable to attend due to a family emergency, had submitted his written notes that would be reported.


Ms. Vivanco, a former neighbor and familiar user of the Bernal Heights Branch Library, began her critique of the proposed renovation plans by discussing essential steps she believed to be necessary to preserve and enhance the fine historic character and finishes of the Branch facility. Ms. Vivanco the discussed a strengthening of the design for the entry area urged the architect to maximize use of space, such as by combining proposed bathroom facilities, to add to available program space. Ms Vivanco then urged a way be found to squeeze more space from the services areas to add to program space as well.  Ms. Vivanco concluided with a discussion of the 1960’s mural on the building’s exterior. Ms. Vivanco then left the meeting due to a previous commitment.


Mr. Willard then expressed strong support for the architect’s proposal to maximize the potential of the original 1936 design of the building.  Mr. Willard lauded the proposed restoration and enhancement of the spaces in the building to maximize usable public areas. Mr. Willard called attention to the enhanced lighting from the North window and recommended removal of the security barriers to add more. Mr. Willard found the ADA ramp a well executed design.


As presented by Mr. Underwood, Mr. Shiles notes offered his comments finding the renovation was well laid out and the stair elevations well considered. Mr. Shiles recommended consolidation of proposed rest room facilities to provide even more public space and also recommended relocation of the book shelving proposed at the entry area finding the placement awkward. Mr. Shiles also suggested shifting the placement of the staff work area on the second floor to create even more public use space suggesting that a wood and glass screen could sympathetically mask back of house activities while admitting additional light. Mr.  Shiles written comments approved of the propose alignment new windows with the reading Room windows.


The remaining Peer Panelist, Mr. Willard retired from the podium and the Commissioners resumed their usual seats.                                 


Commissioner Chin left the meeting during the Peer Panel Presentation.


Mr. Underwood thanked the Per Panelists for their presentations.




An anonymous member of the public commented on: a lack of availability of explanatory documents in advance of the meeting; noted that there has also been a preschool at the Park Branch Library; noted nothing had been said regarding security issues; found that the proposed staff desk was not located near the entry, and queried whether any lessons had been learned regarding replacing exterior murals.


Mr. David Hooper commented: that the exterior mural was worn and dated; and that a good location for an appropriate child-oriented replacement might be the building’s south elevation overlooking the adjoining playground.


Mr. Peter Warfield commented on: the lack of explanatory documents, including before and after views; applauded the effort to preserve original elements and increase in public spaces; questioned if this were a “green building; commented on the location of staffing desks,; and spoke favorably of the separation of the circulation and reference desks as proposed.


Ms. Ellen Egbert commented on: the importance of maintaining staff sight lines in the lower level; expressed concern that the adjacency of the Children’s area and the outdoor playground could lead to spill-over of inappropriate activity and noise; and suggested lower level access be limited to the Moultrie entry as there were restrictions on access to Recreation and Park Department Property.


Ms Lurilla Harris commented that there had been no discussion about use of solar panels.


Mr. Brock Estes commented on: what exact area was being proposed for the co-location; expressed disappointment with the Commissioner’s vote suggesting that the Commission should have responded to the public comment in support of the Preschool; and noted that the Bernal Preschool Program had been cited as a model internationally.


Ms. Vicky Walker, Bernal Preservation, commented: asked that neighborhood preservationists have access to the project during renovation to monitor ongoing work; recommended use of solar panels; and suggested use of “native plants” in the renovation of the Branch’s exterior landscape.  


Ms. Rosanne Liggett, commented on: use of the corner plaza stairway as the main access to the Children’s area rather than from the playground; that the mural was both worn out and inappropriate; that the renovation should seek to restore the building’s original appearance; that she had security concerns with the designs for the lower level areas; and that in general she was pleased with the proposed design.




Commissioner Gomez expressed admiration for the sensitivity to the historic design of the proposed renovation. Commissioner Gomez agreed with the public comment recommending use of the corner plaza stairway as a better point of entry for the Children’s area. In response to Commissioner Gomez’ questions, she was informed concerning how lower level security issues were proposed to be addressed. Commissioner Gomez also agreed that the mural was old and faded and suggested discussions


In response to a question by commission Strobin, the size and length of the proposed ADA access ramp was explained as necessary to meet code requirements.


In response to queries by Commissioners Gomez and Kane concerning use of solar panels, Ms. Thompson informed the Commissioners that a Public Utilities Commission (PUC) staff survey of branch library renovation projects had determined that the Bernal Heights Branch Library was not an appropriate candidate for use of solar panels.


Commissioner Gomez left the meeting at 6:55pm.


Vice President Coulter was impressed with the architect’s design and asked concerning what could be done with the mural.  The City Librarian responded that questions concerning who had authority over and any decision about the fate of the mural had not yet been determined.


President Higueras inquired concerning the addition of pilasters in the lower level that had not originally existed, suggesting that perhaps too many were being proposed for the spaces in question. In response to President Higueras questions about how the teen area would be differentiated Mt. Maloney discussed how the proposed design could set off that area from the main adult reading room. Ms. Toni Bernardi, Chief of Children and Youth Services and the Library’s Teen Advisory Council were to be involved in considering “teen friendly” finishes and furnishing for this area. In response to President Higueras’ questions about the proposed floor finishes Mr. Maloney reported that they would be blended to remain harmonious. . President Higueras also agreed that the proposed book shelves at the entry area might be reconsidered and noted that new opening should correlate with the existing ones.





Marilyn Thompson, Branch Library Improvement Program Manager noted that no informational or special reports would be presented at this meeting.


Ms. Thompson then presented her usual monthly reports on: the BLIP Schedule; the current Budget; and new and renovation projects Construction Reports, (copies attached).


The Branch Library Improvement Program Manager then informed the Library Commissioners about the ongoing active projects: new construction; renovations; report on construction work currently underway, and concluding her presentation with a report on recent and upcoming BLIP community outreach activities, (copy attached).


Commissioner Bautista left the meeting during Ms. Thompson’s report.





An anonymous member of the public commented: that text provided was difficult to read; inquired about the construction start dates reported and the proposed opening days; spoke about “permit problems” at the Noe Valley Branch Library renovation project; asked about the status of the Eureka Valley Branch Library renovation project; and inquired if the Commission proposed to set policy to address issues related to proposed co-location of branch libraries with other entities.


                  Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #5 BLIP MANAGER’S REPORT


President Higueras thanked Ms. Thompson for her report.  







An anonymous member of the public found the minutes not worse, that an effort had been made to address some concerns, and “as approved” Minutes had been corrected as requested. This person called attention to a Friend’s Board member’s name being mis-spelled, and suggested that the point of his Minutes comment was to demonstrate that the Library administration failed to recognize the virtue of an open society.


Mr. Peter Warfield raised two points concerning his comments firstly about exactly what his concerns had been with what he felt were an ongoing breech of user privacy by display of user’s names in the Library’s use of self-pick up of reserves and other places where materials are held, and secondly that he had not said a figure of $1.9 million for additional hours in his comments concerning the Library Budget rather that he had requested additional funding for more public services hours.


Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #2 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF FEBRUARY 16, 2006


Commissioner Kane noted several missing periods and suggested removal of the figure cited by Mr. Warfield. Vice President Coulter called attention to a Page 5 error.


MOTION: by Vice President Coulter, 2nd by Commissioner Kane for approval of the Minutes of the regular Public Library Commission meeting of February 16, 2006 as amended.


ACTION: 4-0 AYE (Coulter, Higueras, Kane, and Strobin)




MOTION: by Vice President Coulter, 2nd by Commissioner Kane to adjourn the regular March 16 , 2006 Public Library Commission meeting In Memoriam of the former Library Commissioner Walter Jebe.






Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #6 ADJOURNMENT


An anonymous member of the public called attention to the passing of former Library Commissioner Walter Jebe and discussed his decades of service to San Francisco.


ACTION: AYE 4-0 (Coulter, Higueras, Kane, and Strobin)


The Commission meeting adjourned at 7:51pm.


Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 4/21/06


Please note: copies of Commission Minutes and handouts are available in the Office of the Commission Secretary, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102


Explanatory documents: Copies of listed explanatory documents are available as follows: (1) from the Commission Secretary/Custodian of Records, Main Library, 6th Floor, (2) in the rear of the Koret Auditorium immediately before and during the meeting, and (3)to the extent possible, on the Library's website at

Additional materials not listed as explanatory documents on this agenda, if any, that are distributed to the Library Commissioners prior to or during the meeting in connection with any agenda item will be available to the public for inspection and copying in accordance with Government Code Section 54954.1 and Sunshine Ordinance §§ 67.9, 67.28(b)& 67.28(d).





BLIP Program Manager’s Report slides

BLIP Program Budget, Schedule, and Construction Reports

Board of Supervisors resolution

City Attorney’s opinion

Floor plans for the Bernal Heights branch Library Renovation Project



































            Minutes of the Library Commission Meeting March 16, 2006

                                          Appendix A


The Public Comment Summary Statements included in these Minutes are authorized by San Francisco Administrative Code Section 67.16.


These summary statements are provided by the speaker. Their contents are neither generated by, nor subject to approval or verification of accuracy by, the San Francisco Public Library Commission.