Minutes of the Regular Meeting of March 19, 2009


(As approved at the Regular Meeting of April 16, 2009)


The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, March 19, 2009, in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.


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


Commissioners present: Harris, Kane, Munson, Lee, and Gomez


Commissioner Chin arrived at 4:32 pm.


Commissioner Del Portillo arrived at 4:37 pm.




An anonymous citizen said March 15 – 21, 2009 is National Sunshine Week.  He said the definition of Sunshine comes from a quotation by Louis Brandeis in 1914.   


Peter Warfield said the Library has violated Sunshine on his requests for information repeatedly in recent weeks.  He said the Library has withheld documents and violated Sunshine in a number of ways.  He said he hopes the Commission will look into the record of the Library on Sunshine.


Tes Welborn said she would like the Commission to suggest that the Library do different planning processes for planning of future branch library renovations.  She gave examples of different processes the Library could use.  She said if the goal is to have great libraries, let’s find ways to have the public weigh in.  




Lena Chen, Bond Program Manager, said there are no informational reports this month.  She said the regular report and a special report on the Park Peer Review Response will be given. She said as of 10/16/08 the approved budget was $153,110,196.  She said the program budget will be revised for the next month’s report.


Maureen Singleton, Budget Manager, said there was a successful sale of the Lease Revenue Bonds on March 17.  She said there were five bidders for the bonds and the winning interest rate was at 5.38%.  She said the estimates given in the fall were at 6.3% so they are pleased to see an interest rate lower than what was estimated at that time.  She said when the FY10 budget was prepared they had estimated an annual debt service at $2.67 million and it will now be approximately $160,000 less.  She said over time we will realize savings with the lower interest rate with the revenue bonds.


Lena Chen, Bond Program Manager, said the schedule report has been distributed to the Commissioners and is available in the back of the room.  She said there are some anticipated changes in the project schedule and they are being reviewed and will be brought back to the Commission at the next meeting.  She said Anza, Ortega and Visitacion Valley are all in the bidding process.  Merced is getting ready to be bid the beginning of April.  She said Bayview and Golden Gate Valley are in design development; North Beach is in Schematic Design and Park and Presidio are in the construction document phase. She gave the status of the program and said that 7 property acquisitions are complete including the Bayview Branch; 9 projects are complete and open; 6 branches are in construction; and 8 branches are in planning and design. She showed photographs and gave reports on projects in construction including: Richmond which will open Saturday, May 16, 2009; Portola opened on February 28, 2009; Ingleside; Bernal Heights, Eureka Valley, and Potrero.   She said Parkside is waiting for the Notice to Proceed.  She gave an update on projects in design including Visitacion Valley; Anza; Ortega; Merced; Bayview; Park; Presidio; Golden Gate Valley and North Beach.  She said there was a Park community meeting held on March 16, 2009.  She said BLIP won a Special Achievement Award from the AIA on March 5, 2009.  She said California Library Association Legislative Day will be April 15, 2009; the Bayview Civic Design Review is April 20, 2009; the Golden Gate Valley Civic Design Review is also April 20, 2009 and the Ortega Public Art Display is March 10 – 24, 2009.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian said one of the strengths of the BLIP program is the level of input and participation from the various neighborhoods and stakeholders.  He said that was one of the criticisms from the BLIP audit because in some cases it has led to schedule delays.  He said with the Park Branch library it has been important to go back and hear from the community several times.  He said there is a better product because of the community input.


Brian Bannon, Chief of Branches said the issues addressed as a result of the Peer Review presentation given February 5, 2009 include:  Noise and Congestion in Public Spaces; Circulation and Reference Desk Locations; Size and Functionality; Workroom Appearance and Location; Collections Capacity and Conditions; Adult, Teen and Children’s Spaces; and Tables and Chairs.


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said that selling the revenue bonds was not on the agenda.  He said there are projected opening dates on the schedule for some of the branches, but no closing dates.  He said the Park Branch process has been questionable.  He said some of the issues raised at the Peer Review have been addressed at this meeting, but there are now book shelves located right in front of the door.


Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said the Park Branch Library renovation plans and planning process have been so bad that they should be scrapped and the project either not be done or started over from the beginning.  He said there are a range of issues that have either not been discussed at all or simply thrown out.


Lorraine Lucas, resident of Haight Ashbury and member of Haight Ashbury Improvement Association said she is in support of the renovation plans and said the Library has done a great job of outreach.  She said some of the people in the neighborhood understand that the library needs to be closed to have a library for the 21st century.  She said if you go to the library you can see that it needs to be renovated.


A resident of the area said he had mixed feelings about the project.  He said he is concerned it will be a hassle to go to other libraries while it is closed.  He said he hoped if you do go through with the process you will have the bookmobile available on a regular schedule.  He said he is concerned that the monies that need to be raised will not be raised in these very dire economic times.


Sue Cauthen, Library Citizens Advisory Committee (LCAC), said the LCAC had a meeting on the Park Branch last night and had presidents from two of the neighborhood organizations in Haight Ashbury and had heard from others.  She said she thought the consensus was that the neighborhood groups were at first concerned over the process but there have been two community meetings in the last month and it appears the neighborhood groups are now satisfied.  She said the LCAC passed a resolution asking the Library for meaningful budget cuts now to avoid the need for reduction or elimination of the library set-asides.  She said she would like the resolution to be included in the minutes.


Donna Bero, Friends of the Library, said congratulations on the AIA award.  She said the Neighborhood Library Campaign has launched for the Park Branch.  She said there has been wonderful feedback and input from the neighborhood.  She said the Friends have guaranteed a commitment to raising the funds for the Park Branch.


Melissa Riley said the new plan looks much better than the previous plan.  She said there is need for the staff to be able to work behind the scenes.  She said there is a program for privacy for the self pick-up reserves when patrons ask for it.


Richard Ivanhoe, resident of Haight Asbury, said thank you to everyone involved in the process.  He said there are designs in the plan to maintain the historical elements.  He said the Park Branch is the oldest operating branch in the system.  He said the 100th anniversary is October 29th.  He said the neighborhood would really like it if the branch could remain open and have its 100th anniversary on that date.  He said the neighborhood is trying to work with the library to find an alternative site.


Joey Cain, President Haight Asbury Neighborhood Council (HANC) said last month HANC sent a letter to the Commission opposing the closure of the library until two conditions were addressed.  He said one was increased public input into the design and the layout and the other was a replacement site.  He said there have been meetings since then with President Gomez and members of the Library’s staff.  He said from the designs that came back it looks like the library really listened and addressed the public’s concerns.  He said there was a problem with the process from the beginning.  He said they are still concerned about a replacement site and would be happy to work with the staff on this issue.  He said they would like to delay the closure until after the 100th anniversary.


Ted Lowenberg, President of the Haight Asbury Improvement District, said they firmly support the Library’s plan to renovate the branch.  He said the outreach to the community has resulted in a creative approach to increasing shelf space, and making the library more usable.  He said this is a shovel ready project and it would be a shame to not proceed as scheduled.


Tes Welborn, member of the Board of the Haight Asbury Neighborhood Council (HANC), said there have been a lot of positive changes to the plans and they are grateful even though they had to fight hard for them.  She said they sent a list of questions on March 2 and did not receive answers until March 18, which were not complete.  She said there is an issue about self-check machines.  She said there are still some issues to discuss and the plan can be improved upon.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Del Portillo said congratulations to the City Librarian and staff for the work they have done with the community.  She said it is difficult to do architectural drawings by committee and we certainly want to listen to what the community has to say.  She said it is now or never for this branch library.  She said the Library is a good product and people like libraries.  She said the Friends will certainly be able to raise the money for the furniture and fixtures for this branch with the help of the community.  

She asked about the current bidding climate.


Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian said the Parkside Branch had 8 bidders and the awarded low bidder was much below the fixed budget limit.


Commissioner Kane asked if there were any schedule changes from the last report.


Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian said the construction schedule is on time.  She said they are looking at 3 projects that may have schedule impacts that are in design and they will bring those back to the Commission if there is any schedule impact.


Commissioner Kane said the BLIP projects are multi-generational.  He said who knows when, if ever, they will be updated again.  He said a year and a half ago the Commission had to postpone five projects because of delays in other projects.  He said those delays added up and we had to postpone five projects.  He said we learned then that delays cost money and threaten projects.  He said we are going to get the projects right but he does want to see the projects stay on schedule.


Commissioner Lee said he was glad to hear the Richmond Branch is 99% complete.  He asked about a neighbor of the Richmond Branch who had concerns about his adjacent property.


Lena Chen, Bond Program Manager, said they have worked with this neighbor directly to get the issues resolved.


Commissioner Lee said we are on the right track for the Park Branch.  He said we need to proceed with the project.


Commissioner Chin said she understands since Park is the oldest branch there is a certain amount of pride to making sure that the branch is recognized.  She said the branch can hold a celebration any time.  She said it is incumbent on the community to have a bang up 100th anniversary party.  She said she is the Principal of Spring Valley which is the oldest public school in California.  She said they are undergoing construction and they don’t want to leave their school either, however, there are certain things that need to be done.  She said you should look at the positive side and what you will get at the end of the process.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian said we are committed to working in partnership with the neighborhood associations to identify a potential location for some level of interim service for the Park Branch.  We have said we do not have the money to commit to a full service operation and that has been the policy of the Library Commission.  He said there will be a level of temporary services including the bookmobile and programmatic services in different areas of the neighborhood and we are committed to do that.


President Gomez thanked the BLIP staff for all the incredible work done over the past several years at all the branches.  She said she appreciates the process the amazing outreach and ability to jump back in when people feel they have not been heard.  She said she also appreciates the work the Friends have done in support of the BLIP program.




Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said the person who prepares the minutes transcribes the first part of the remarks made by the public and then completely ignores the rest of the statement.  He said there were several examples of this in the minutes. 


Peter Warfield said his comments on page 2 under agenda Item No. 1 public comment were misrepresented regarding the book budget and Prop E.  He said on page 6 under the Bond Program Manager’s Report it reads “He said the process at the last community meeting was awful.”  He said that should read: “the process at the last Park Branch community meeting was awful.”


President Gomez asked that the minutes include the modification presented by the previous speaker to include the words “Park Branch” where indicated.


Commissioner Chin said the Minutes are meant to be the actions of the Library Commission and she asked the Secretary to streamline the minutes.


Motion:  By Commissioner Del Portillo, seconded by Commissioner Munson, to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of February 19, 2009 with a correction to page 6 as noted above to add the words Park Branch and to note that Commissioner Chin had requested that the minutes be less wordy and more concise.   


Action:  AYES 7-0: (Chin, Del Portillo, Gomez, Harris, Kane, Lee and Munson).




There was no public comment on this item.


Motion:  By Commissioner Munson, seconded by Commissioner Del Portillo to adjourn the regular meeting of February 19, 2009. 


Action:  AYES 7-0: (Chin, Del Portillo, Gomez, Harris, Kane, Lee and Munson).


The meeting adjourned at 6:05 pm.


Sue Blackman

Commission Secretary


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).