(As approved at the regular meeting of April 17, 2008)


Minutes of the Regular Meeting of March 20, 2008


The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, March 20, 2008, in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.


President Gomez called the meeting to order at 4:37 pm.


Commissioners present: Chin, Gomez, Harris, Lee, and Munson.


Commissioner Kane arrived at 4:39 pm.


Commissioner Del Portillo was excused.




An anonymous citizen said at the last meeting Commissioner Del Portillo introduced the subject of the minutes during the approval of the minutes.  He said that opens many crucial issues.  He said not only is it a requirement under the Sunshine Ordinance that citizens’ comments be summarized in the minutes but the law says that if the citizen provides the summary, the summary will be included in the minutes.  He said there is a history with the Library Commission that they do not recognize the importance of public comments.  


Peter Warfield said a group he is in involved with received an award from the Society for Professional Journalists and he said it was nice to be in a place where people appreciate what you do.  He said he agrees with the previous speaker regarding the minutes.  He said he has had problems with having summaries placed in the minutes as well.  He said there is still an issue with the Library’s response regarding the $115 fee for lost books under Link+




Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said his comments on page 1 under public comment were misrepresented.  He said his point was that the Charter Requirement says at least three candidates should have been sent to the Mayor for selection of the City Librarian and that did not mean one or two which the Commission determined it meant.  He also said the word “sight” lines had been misspelled on pages 4 and 6.


Peter Warfield said the minutes have slid at some points into incomprehensibility.  He said under public comment one of his main points was to say that the Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Public Works would not have action taken on it by the Commission and he said he thinks that is very inappropriate and would be going around the Sunshine rules.


MOTION: by Commissioner Lee, seconded by Commissioner Munson, to approve the minutes of February 21, 2008.


AYES: 6-0 (Chin, Gomez, Harris, Lee, Kane, Munson)




Marilyn Thompson, Bond Program Manager, said that design began for the Merced branch in mid-2006.  She said three community meetings have been held.  The first was in May, 2006 and the most recent one was on February 26, 2008.  She said the Library Commission placed this project on hold last March and transferred all but $50,000 of the budget to other branch projects with the intent to restart design this year with new funding which has occurred.   The forecast project budget is estimated to cost between $4.4 and $4.7 million dollars which includes all hard and soft costs according to the 2006 design at between a 5% and 8% escalation and that assumes start of construction early next year.  She said this budget and schedule are under evaluation at this time.  The project as presented tonight is estimated to meet the budget before LEED certification is applied.  Bid alternates are being incorporated into the design.  The project is forecast to go to bid this fall and go to construction early next year with an opening in fall of 2010.


Paul De Freitas, architect from the Bureau of Architecture, gave a presentation on the Merced Branch Library.  He said the existing branch serves the Lakeview community and that it gets a large and diverse group of patrons.  He said the building was built in 1957 and the original design turns its back on 19th Avenue and faces the residential community.  He explained some of the deficiencies in the existing floor plan.  He said the design goals are to improve service to the community, incorporate the latest information technology, have better work areas for staff, provide for complete ADA accessibility, and be seismically retrofitted and LEED Silver certified.  He explained the design concept, the scale of the building, the floor plan and the elevations.


Brian Bannon, Chief of Branches, said some of the desires of the library were to have a designated teen space, an expansion of the children’s area, and public restrooms.  He said the Merced branch is a mid-size branch and it has around the middle range of circulation and patron use.  He said there are strong comparisons to the Parkside branch.  He said there was an extensive community process to get to this point.


Marilyn Thompson, Bond Program Manager, introduced the Peer Panel members.  She said Jane Chisaki is the Library Director for the Alameda Free Library.  She has had a 24 year career in Alameda.  She has a B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and her M.L.S. from San Jose State University.  Robert David Colyer, AIA, NCARB, LEED-AP, has been a Principal of The Colyer Freeman Group for 28 years and is the Director of Architecture and Technology.


Peer Reviewer Comments


Robert Colyer complimented the architect and said this was a well-thought out project.  He said the building corner on Winston and Stonecrest drive is a relatively opaque corner but the usage there is for back of the house functions.  He said that is the most prominent corner adjacent to the entrance.  He said the scale and material of the new addition work is fine, but he said he would propose that the uses for that area be changed to some other library uses.  He said it would take rearranging some of the areas for the staff uses.  He said since the architect chose to install a gas fireplace the fireplace wall could actually be moved to another location.


Jane Chisaki said this was her first time appearing on a Peer Review Panel, she said it is a coincidence that this branch is the one where she started her career.  She said the new addition is a prime location and using that area for staff usage is a bit of a shame but she understands not wanting to move the children’s area.  She said staff areas get messy so even with opaque glass they need to be careful.  She said she would like to see the circulation desk moved.  She said the noise level in the teen area will carry and it is too bad it is just an open space with no walls.  


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said it was good to have the peer reviewer biographical material but the bad news is there are only two reviewers and they are closer to home with both having ties to the Merced branch.  He said this branch is increasing by more than 20% and there is no increase for space for books.  He said these new branches are being designed with a back of house perspective.   


Harriet Sollod, Council of Neighborhood Libraries, representing the Merced branch, said overall the neighborhood is very pleased with the design.  She said there are regrets over the lack of money and lack of space, but that is true of anything you build.  She said the peer reviewers have echoed some of the comments by the community specifically about the staff space, but overall the community is pleased.  


Peter Warfield said there is an increase in square footage but a 2 ˝% reduction in the adult collection, the teen area is going up and the children’s area is up a tiny amount.  He said the overall seating is going up by one seat.  He said it looks like the reference desks are jammed together with the circulation desk.  He said the split of the staff areas is a concern.


Melissa Riley, librarian at the West Portal branch, said it looks like the seats don’t add up so she wondered if the window seats are counted.  She said she liked having the ability to have the children enter the terrace from the children’s section and was sure the community wanted that as well.  She said she is concerned about the reference desks being so close to the circulation desk.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Kane asked about the separation of the staff space and whether the space in the front of the building could be used for library space.  He also asked how this staff space compares to other branches.


Brian Bannon, Chief of Branches, said having the children’s room next to the terrace was a priority so there were limited possibilities for the use of the area next to the main entry.  He said this is not a large staff room or large in comparison to other branches.  He said it is comparable to the Parkside branch.


Paul De Freitas, architect said that the benches in the branch are counted in the seating capacity.  He said you can only count accessible seating in the count according to the building code.  He said that is the difficulty in adding additional seating or shelving.


Brian Bannon said the new seating will maximize the views from the windows and it will be more intimate.


Commissioner Lee said the staff areas should be together and asked about the janitorial area.


Paul De Freitas, architect, said there was collaboration with library staff and management during the design process.


Robert Colyer said that one of his suggestions was to flip the existing location of the fireplace because it will be a gas unit, which would allow some changes to the floor plan.  He also said it might be better if the restrooms were closer to the children’s area.


Commissioner Lee asked about the noise level from the teen area.  He also said the purpose of the project is to upgrade and renovate the branches to meet ADA requirements among other things.


Commissioner Munson said it concerns him that there is no progress in terms of total capacity of circulation for this library and he said this renovation is supposed to take care of the demand for the next 50 years


Brian Bannon, Chief of Branches said capacity is definitely something that is being looked at.  He said the collection size for this branch is comparable to many of the branches and in some cases larger.  He said the collections of our branches ten years ago are very different from our collections today.  He said we are trying to plan for the future.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said that San Francisco has a totally different environment from other libraries because we have so many branches.  He said the priorities have been to define spaces and provide for an increase in children’s and teen spaces.  He said the ultimate goal is to make the branches seismically and ADA compliant.


Commissioner Chin said she is concerned about the staff spaces being separate.  She asked about the entryway and if that could be expanded.


Paul De Freitas said the existing building has a roof over that area and they wanted to maintain as much of the original structure as possible.


Commissioner Harris said he went to the branch and it was very busy.  He said it is a limited area.  He said this addition is very nice.


President Gomez said security is an issue as well as the integrity of the building itself.  She asked about the security of the terrace area.


Paul De Freitas said the existing terrace is enclosed with a wooden fence with gates.  He talked about the plumbing in the building and the location of the restrooms.


Brian Bannon thanked the architects’ team and the staff involved in the project.


President Gomez thanked the Peer Reviewers for their time and input.




Marilyn Thompson, Bond Program Manager, said that there were no informational or special reports for this meeting.    She said as of 2/21/08 the approved budget was $143,177,607.  She said the revenue sources total $143,531.826.  She listed the appropriations.  She said every change to the baseline budget is included and the last budget was approved on November 15, 2007.  She said the schedule report is a summary level report that is broken down by project in alphabetical order and it is also available at the back of the room.  She said the last time a schedule change was approved was March, 2007.  She said each project has the original schedule, the last approved schedule and the forecasted schedule.  She gave the Active Projects Report including information on new construction and renovations; and the Construction Report.  She showed photographs of the Noe Valley reopening, Richmond, Portola, Ingleside, and the Eureka Valley closing party. She said other active projects are Potrero, Parkside, Visitacion Valley, Anza, Ortega, Merced, Bayview, North Beach, Park, and Golden Gate Valley.  She said there will be a Bayview Community meeting on April 21. 


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said this is an interesting report based on the improvements recommended by the Controller’s Audit.    He said there are 16 active projects and only 2 have the approved schedule and the forecast schedule the same.  He said it has been more than a year since the Commission approved any schedule changes.


Peter Warfield said there does seem to be some inaction on the part of the Commission and management on the schedule.  He said to his knowledge there has never been a discussion about LEED certification and its impact on the budget.  He said what everyone wants to see are people reading books.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Kane said he is concerned about changes to the schedule and would like any changes brought to the Commission.  He also asked about the Potrero branch and what we might expecting on the bids that are currently out to bid.


Marilyn Thompson said since the original bids came in way over budget staff has made changes but they are not sure whether they will come back within budget.


Commissioner Kane asked about the budgets and how LEED certification will affect those budgets.


Marilyn Thompson said that the industry standard is between a 0 and 11% increase, but that they are expecting between 5 and 8%, but they are still studying this and will bring the information back to the Commission as soon as possible.


Commissioner Kane had additional questions regarding the budget and expenditures and encumbrances.


Commissioner Munson said the budget should include a contingency amount for LEED costs of approximately 7%.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said the amounts actually spent on the projects are in the construction report.


Commissioner Lee asked about the difference in the numbers in the budget.  He said he was concerned about the difference in the amounts of the original budget and the approved budget.  He said it seems like every project has an overrun.  He said you have to control your budget anyway you can.


President Gomez said this is an issue they have dealt with over the years because of an increase in construction costs and other impacts.  She said the Commission has approved the higher budget numbers.


Commissioner Munson explained the delay in a number of the projects.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said that some of the branches were originally renovations and are now budgeted for new branches and that explains the budget increase. 


Commissioner Chin asked about Golden Gate Valley and the cost increases.


Luis Herrera said that the Golden Gate Valley branch is one of the most expensive projects and it is due to inflation and increased costs.  He also said we are doing outreach to contractors so that we get more bidders on the projects.


Commissioner Munson said the Commission had asked DPW to do a better job with their outreach efforts and he thinks they have done better in this area. 




Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said he had prepared a memo to the Commission outlining the Branch Library Improvement Program Budget Changes.   He said there has been an additional $3.08 million appropriation to the budget.  He explained the breakdown of that amount.  He said he was also recommending a transfer of $446,800 to help fund the estimated cost of issuance for the fourth series of General Obligation Bonds and related City Auditor fees and a transfer of the remaining balance of increased revenues (totaling $658,579) to the BLIP Program Reserve bringing the reserve balance to $3,741,063.  In addition he is recommending that $588,300 from the $1 million General Fund set aside to create a shelving reserve for various projects.


Marilyn Thompson explained in more detail the recommended budget changes with updated revenue sources, revised project budgets, other budgets and the changes for the shelving reserve.  


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said he was not quite clear about which amounts are transfers and which amounts are expenditures.  He said the Commission should be looking at the budget increases more closely.


Peter Warfield said for many years we have heard about the Friends supplying the furniture and fixtures for the BLIP so he doesn’t understand what the shelving reserve is about.  He asked why the Friends are not paying for all of the shelving.  He said Prop D permits bonds going forward for equipment, but he said none of this has been discussed by the Commission.


Commission Comment


Commissioner Lee asked about the $3,080,000 transfer for contracts and design and how much of that is for construction.


Marilyn Thompson, Bond Program Manager said none of that money is for construction.  She said it is for design teams, engineers, architects, and surveyors.  She clarified that these are all soft costs.


MOTION: by Commissioner Munson seconded by Commissioner Harris, to approve the Branch Library Improvement Program Budget Changes as outlined in the Memo from the City Librarian to the Library Commission dated March 14, 2008.


AYES: 6-0 (Chin, Gomez, Harris, Lee, Kane, Munson)




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, March 20, 2008


ACTION:  AYES: 6-0 (Chin, Gomez, Harris, Kane, Lee and Munson).


The regular meeting of March 20, 2008, of the San Francisco Public Library Commission adjourned at 6:56 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).