Minutes of the Regular Meeting of April 3, 2008


(As amended and approved at the regular meeting of May 1, 2008)


The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, April 3, 2008, in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.


The meeting was called to order at 4:37 pm. 


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


Excused:  Commissioner Chin

President Gomez changed the order of the agenda requesting that Item No. 6 (Friends of the Library Report) be heard prior to Item No. 4 with the rest of the agenda items to follow.



An anonymous citizen said over the last several meetings he has been giving the Commissioners a sort of orientation about the insanity they are expected to endorse.  He said sending a message to this large bureaucracy that you will endorse whatever is given to you to endorse is a very dangerous message.   


Peter Warfield said the saga of the $115 lost or damaged book charge through Link+ continues.  At the March 6 meeting the Commission was told that the $115 was not mandatory and that no one had actually paid the $115.  In information requests he made he said it appears there was some bargaining with folks who lost materials and it was agreed that they could provide a replacement book.  He said on the day before the March 6 meeting an email for the InterLibrary Loan Department said if the patron does not replace the book they will have to pay the $115 replacement fee.   He said there is a question as to whether the consortium even requires the $115 fee. 







Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said on the first page of the minutes the point that he was making was in our society public officials need to hear the other side of the story and he was there to tell them the other side of the story.   He said that point was not clear in the minutes. 


Peter Warfield said he was not able to review the tape of the meeting but it was hard for him to believe that on page 8 under Public Comment for the Interlibrary Loan programs that he did not make a mention of the $115 lost book mandatory charge.  He asked the Commission to ask the secretary to review it.  He said he would like to see that reflected in the minutes if that indeed was what he said.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Lee asked the secretary to review the portion of the meeting that Mr. Warfield referred to in his comments.


Motion:  By Commissioner Del Portillo, seconded by Commissioner Munson to approve the minutes of March 6, 2008 and asked the secretary to review the tape on Mr. Warfield’s comments.


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




Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said that the Collection Development Plan overview was given at the March 6 meeting and that they were recommending approval of the Plan Policy at this meeting.


Marcia Schneider, Chief of Communications, Collections & Adult Services, said the Plan is available on the website under Library Administration.  She said it is typical of Library Collection Development Plans to have a brief policy statement.  She said often these plans include endorsement of the selected policies of the American Library Association.  She said staff looked at the collection development plan policies of many other libraries.  She said the focus is to be at the highest level and not include a great deal of detail, which is included in the plan itself.  She said the attachments include the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read Statement and the Freedom to View Statement  She said at the last meeting Melissa Riley suggested that two additional documents the Code of Ethics and the Core Values of Librarianship be included in the policy. 





Public Comment


An anonymous citizen, said that there was a Collection Development Plan prepared in March, 1995.  He said he thinks it is a little more detailed than the current one.  He asked why the Commission is not approving the whole Collection Development Plan and not just the policy.  He said he supports including the ALA policies but there should be a specific focus on this library.


Peter Warfield said there is a great deal of good and useful material before the Commission, however, he said there seems to be notable omissions.  He said barriers to access are something that libraries do not want to place before people and he said financial barriers to access are also something to be very careful about.  He said this policy does not include American Library Association Policy No. 61 on service to poor people.  He said that policy says that fines and fees should be very carefully examined and examined with a view towards barrier of access.  He said he would like to see ALA Policy 61 included in the Collection Development Plan policy.  He said he is disappointed that there is not a mention in the policy of the preservation of materials.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Kane said he supports the policy, but he would like to see at a future meeting a discussion at the macro level about the collection and how materials are chosen, how our collection rates against other public libraries and how the budget is broken down.  He asked how this policy will relate to the collection for the next 20 years.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian said staff will report back to the Commission on the selection process for the collection.


Commissioner Kane asked about a review of our collection and how it ranks with other libraries.  


Luis Herrera said there are different types of comparisons with other libraries and staff can bring that back to the Commission for discussion.


MOTION: by Commissioner Munson, seconded by Commissioner Lee, to approve the Collection Development Policy. 


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


President Gomez said as previously noted the next item would be taken out of order.




Donna Bero, Friends of the Library, said that she attended the Public Library Association’s meeting in Minneapolis last week and she said it was a good time to remind the Commission that the Friends are community-based and not part of the Library organization.  She said the Friends’ investment in the library is doing due diligence so see how this library is perceived.  She said the San Francisco Public Library is envied.  She said very few public libraries have organizations that have an organization that is both Friends and Foundation.  She wanted to remind the Commission how fortunate we are to have such a talented and committed staff and that San Francisco enjoys such a strong national reputation.  She said there are some events coming up with the Neighborhood Library Campaign including Richmond History Day on April 5, and a Potrero art auction on April 12.  She said on April 9 there will be a Green Ink series program at Ft. Mason.  She said August 16 is Library Legislative Day and Friends will be taking a contingent to Sacramento to meet with our elected officials.  She said it would be wonderful if some of the Commission members could come.  She said April is Dine Out month in the Richmond and she passed out cards that listed the restaurants, which will be giving a portion of their proceeds on Wednesday nights in April to the Richmond Neighborhood Library Campaign.   She said Poets Eleven is accepting submissions from all 11 districts in the City from poets.  She read a short poem which Jack Hirschman, the City’s Poet Laureate, wrote about the San Francisco Public Library and Poets Eleven.


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said if you think the public/private partnership is the wave of the future, you need to get out more.  He gave Halliburton/ Pentagon as the example.  He said it is not a good model and  public/public is the good model and the wave of the future.


Peter Warfield said he was surprised not to hear anything about the annual Laureates Dinner and the Commission being invited to attend the dinner.


President Gomez said that any item can be moved up on the agenda if there is a request and at the discretion of the Chair.


President Gomez left the meeting and Vice-President Munson presided over the meeting.




Kathy Lawhun, Chief of Main, introduced Susan Goldstein, Manager of sixth floor services, San Francisco History Center, Book Arts and Special Collections Department.  She said she is also the City Archivist and is very active with all other City Departments when they want to get rid of their old records and they want the Library to take them.


Susan Goldstein, sixth floor services, said there were many exhibits in the last year including Relocation and Resiliency: Japanese American Internment in California; School’s Out: A century of San Francisco High School Yearbooks; The City Redeemed: The Mayoralty of Edward Robeson Taylor; Timeless San Francisco and Timeless Cities; A New Deal for San Francisco – Thanks to the WPA!; Pisco Punch: “Miracle and Benison” among others.  She said they worked with the branches on exhibits as well.  She said there were many programs including Public Art in San Francisco; Streetcars; Framing the Black Panthers; Shanghaied in San Francisco.  She said there are a lot of training, classes and outreach.  She said they did another Shades of San Francisco project on the GLBT Community.  She said two big projects were started this year digitizing with the Open Content Alliance and the Genealogical Society of Utah.  She said they are digitizing full texts of some books and making them available to patrons.  She said they have been working with the branches about preserving the collections in the branches.  She said there are new collections including the Chet Born Photo Collection; French Hospital, Early 20th Century Photo Album; Summer of Love Photographs and others.  She said it takes a lot of time to complete collections and a number of collections were completed last year.  She said the photo desk is very busy and said our photos are used for film, exhibits, magazines, etc.  She said the City Archives is also a large part of what she does and she works very closely with other city departments.


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said it is the Daniel E. Koshland San Francisco History Center.  He said if you go to the website, you will find a link called information for donors.  He said that the website says make your checks out to the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.  He said not only was Edward Robeson Taylor a former Mayor he was a former President of the Library Commission.  He said the motto was Edward Robeson Taylor’s personal motto and the library liked it so much that they adopted it for the library.  He said not too long ago this library gave away its genealogy collection and also dumped several newspaper morgues.  He said history is a wonderful subject.


Peter Warfield said the History Center Room is one of the most interesting to go to and he said it was good to hear about what is going on there.  He said one of his favorites is the Humor Collection and the exhibits that come out of that collection.  He said there was a really wonderful Horace Bristol exhibit and he said the annual handmade books exhibit is always very entertaining and very interesting.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Kane said he loved the report and that he is a frequent user of the History Center.  He said what the library does is extremely valuable and important and he asked what the biggest issue for the History Center is.  He also asked about what types of patron complaints there are and he asked about newspapers and periodicals.  


Susan Goldstein said that space is the biggest issue.  She said they have enough space now but looking ahead at future collections they will need more space.   She said people seem to really like the Center, but she wishes they could do more outreach for the Center.  She said the library does coordinate with other departments, museums, etc.  She said there were some periodicals and neighborhood newspapers on the Sixth Floor but most of the other newspapers were on the Fifth Floor in the Newspaper and Periodical section.


Kathy Lawhun, Chief of Main, said there is a service that is in the process of digitalizing the San Francisco Chronicle back to the first one published from 1859 – 1923.


Commissioner Kane asked about the costs of obtaining historical photos.


Susan Goldstein said that taking a photo of a photo costs $1; she said a scan is generally $15 depending on the size, etc.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian said the collaboration and partnership with other entities is very important and staff does a great job.


Vice-President Munson asked whether the library keeps corporate records.


Kathy Lawhun said the Business Section has the annual reports of any public corporation in San Francisco from the time of its incorporation. 




Luis Herrera, City Librarian said the Mayor originally asked for an 8-13% reduction in each department’s budgets but the Library was spared that initial exercise.  He said the Mayor has asked for an additional 8% reduction and the Library has gone back with reductions based on the budget change requests that the Commission had approved so it will not impact service levels, but it is still not known if the Mayor will accept any of the cuts.  He said he would keep the Commission posted on that.  He said the Mayor has also issued a directive for departments to cut back on spending including out of town travel, energy savings and find other cost efficiencies.  


Toni Bernardi, Chief of Children and Youth Services, said the three issues that will be discussed are the Mission Branch Children’s Center, the Children’s bookmobile and the children’s services library card campaign.


Rachel MacNeilly, Senior Children’s Librarian Mission Branch said she is very excited to tell the Commissioners about the many programs and events in the Children’s Room at the Mission Branch.  She said they have many community partnerships and they have workshops, trainings, fairs, back-to-school nights and more.  She said in FY 2007-08 so far they have hosted 157 programs for infants and preschoolers, involving 10,671 participant and 145 programs for school age children, involving 4,495 participants.  She said the preschool partnerships include Good Samaritan, Bryant, Mission Child Development Centers, Los Americas and Head Start.  She said they have partnerships with 10 SFUSD Elementary Schools and 10 private schools.  She said they have regular programming including bilingual baby time, preschool storytime, bilingual infant lapsit and homework help.


Katrin Reimuller, Children’s Bookmobile, said the Children’s Bookmobile has a lot of fun bringing books, building literacy, sharing stories, songs and rhymes, creating library lovers and sprinkling reading magic.  She said the services provided are circulation of materials, storytimes, reference and reader’s advisory and early literacy support.  She said the children served are those who need early literacy support, are English language learners, are from traditionally underserved communities and are those not easily served by a branch library. 


Troy Oldham, Children’s Bookmobile said the Children’s Bookmobile serves 52 sites monthly including 44 preschools and 2 Treasure Island stops.  He said over 2,000 children are served each month.  He said the materials circulated include picture stories, board books, early readers, nonfiction, teacher and parent resources, audio book kits, educational DVDs and music CDs.   


Katrin Reimuller said circulation for the Children’s Bookmobile is up 35.88% year-to-date and averages over 2200 items per month.  She said 17,374 total items have been circulated year-to-date.  She said she does over 30 storytimes monthly to over 500 storytime participants.  She said the bookmobile attends special events all over the city such as Dia de Los Ninos/Dia de Los Libros, First 5 See Me, DCYF Family Festival at Yerba Buena Gardens and the Mayor’s March Gladness.  


Toni Bernardi, Chief of Children and Youth Services, gave an update on the new library card design contest.   She said working with the San Francisco Unified School District there was a design contest held for students in May – June 2007.  She said the winning designs were selected in June and after graphics refinement, the bid process, and ordering the new cards, the cards became available in the branches on January 21, 2008.  She showed the designs of the contest winners and said that the winners will be honored at an Awards Ceremony on April 10.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, expressed his appreciation for the staff that gave the updates and said when you see the smiling faces of the children you know the library is really making a difference and having an impact on the community.


Marcia Schneider, Chief of Communications, Collections and Adult Services said there are two exhibits which opened this month.  She said one on Charm School, Ill-Mannered Selections from the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit and Humor is in the Skylight Gallery through May 31.  She said this exhibit was put together by Andrea Grimes in Book Arts and Special Collections. 


Andrea Grimes said the Book Arts and Special Collections is a sister center to the San Francisco History Center.  She thanked a large number of staff people who had assisted in putting the Charm School exhibit together. 


Marcia Schneider said the other exhibit on display is the Anniversary of the New Deal with exhibits on the 4th and 5th floors through May 31 and an exhibit on the 6th floor through August 9.  She said these exhibits are sponsored by the San Francisco History Center.  She said there were several events planned for April including green programs celebrating Earth Day.           


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said he was disappointed nobody asked the City Librarian what the motto of the San Francisco Public Library is.  He said he did not get his questions answered from the report on the budget.  He said there have been directives from the Mayor to cut down discretionary spending.  He said the Library says they will take that seriously but because they have the set aside they really don’t have to take that seriously.  He said Nat Schmulowitz was a former President of the San Francisco Public Library Commission.  He said he was a prominent businessman who gave a huge collection of humor to the Library. 


Peter Warfield said he wishes that there would have been separate reports because there was so much information.  He said he enjoys the titles of some of the children’s books.  He said he appreciated the report on the exhibits and programs.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Lee thanked staff for a nice presentation particularly on the children’s bookmobile.  He asked about the times of the visits of the children’s bookmobile.  


Katrin Reimuller said the visits from the bookmobiles are in the morning and the afternoon.


Vice-President Munson asked how the books are circulated.


Katrin Reimuller said the books are checked out to the preschool on a teacher’s card.  She said when the bookmobile comes back the teacher’s bring the books back and the children can then choose new books that stay in the classroom. 


Commissioner Del Portillo asked a question about the dates of the Commission meetings and why there was only one meeting in July and one meeting in August.


Sue Blackman, Library Commission Secretary, said that the Bond Program Manager’s report is scheduled monthly so the reason for the one meeting is to accommodate vacations but still have the monthly Bond Program Manager’s report.


Commissioner Del Portillo said in the copy of the adult programming for May, which was before the Commission, she did not see one single Cinco de Mayo celebration.  She said Cinco de Mayo is important and it is an amazing teaching opportunity and she is surprised there are no library events planned.  She said she is interested in an event on Tuesday, May 20, “Hallelujah – I’m a Bum”.  She said this is a wonderful part of American History and she hopes that we can publicize this a little more.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian said the point is well taken on Cinco de Mayo and the Library takes pride on having a diversity of programs in various communities.  He said we do a lot of programming for Hispanic Heritage month in September but that is not an excuse for not having anything for Cinco de Mayo.  He said we can do better.




Melissa Riley said she hopes everyone will read the ALA’s Core Values.  She said they do refer to the economic barriers to information access.  She said libraries look like they are self-service but they are not.  She said after hearing about items that have been digitized she said she hopes all librarians are referring patrons to other librarians for additional help on research, etc.  She said in addition to the Core Values there are many other ALA policies


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said he threw it up at the fat part of the plate and Commissioner Lee hit it out of the park.


Peter Warfield said he is glad that it was pointed out that the ALA’s Core Values does mention the barriers to economic access.  He said the Library has for some time failed to provide feedback to patrons who make a request for materials.


Melissa Riley said one of the things any patron can do is put in a request for what they are looking for on the website and they will be emailed when that information is available.




Public Comment


There was no public comment on this item.


MOTION: by Commissioner Kane, seconded by Commissioner Lee, to adjourn the regular meeting of Thursday, April 3, 2008.


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


The regular meeting of April 3, 2008, of the San Francisco Public Library Commission adjourned at 6:46 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).