Minutes of the regular meeting of Thursday, June 1, 2006
(As approved September 7, 2006)

The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, June 1, 2006 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.


The meeting was called to order by Vice President Coulter at 4:06pm


Commissioners present:  Bautista, Chin, Coulter, and Munson

A quorum was present. Commissioner Kane joined the meeting at 4:17pm.

President Higueras and Commissioner Gomez were reported excused attendance.




An anonymous member of the public spoke in opposition to the Friends of the Library; he noted that he had requested and been denied the opportunity to make media presentations as part of his public comments.  He suggested that the Commission Secretary’s response to this request amounted to the same thing as racism; he discussed aspects of one of his lawsuits against the Library and the City Attorney’s motion to declare him a “vexatious litigant”, and he stated that the Library Commissioners and the City Attorney had engaged in misconduct of office.


When the speaker had finished, Vice President Coulter asked him  to clarify his remarks and  accusations that the Library Commission had engaged in racism and that the City Attorney had violated his ethical standards and engaged in illegal actions. The speaker declined to elaborate on his charges. Vice President Coulter said if he wanted to be taken seriously when such charges are made he needs to provide details.


Mr. Kimo Crossman commented: expressing disappointment at the Commission’s response to the previous public comment citing the importance of “free speech”; criticized the Commissioners for what he termed their lack of interest in comments offered by members of the public; noted that he too had been denied opportunity to use library systems to make a media presentation as part of his public comment while there was apparently no policy on this matter; and noted that he had suggested changes in the Sunshine Ordinance to require that he be allowed to make such presentations; and made reference to issues of inequality as satirized in George Orwell’s Animal Farm.


Ms. Ellen Egbert, a Bernal Heights Library user, called attention to the popularity of the Friend’s book sales lauding the presence of the Project Read van at many of these events and saying they enliven the community; and about why she created and asked the Friends of the Library to oversee the “public comment fund” as a means to make a personal response to unjust criticism of the Friends and the Library.


Mr. Peter Warfield commented: that it was in his opinion improper for Commissioners to respond to public comment; that equal time on the agenda should be allowed for those criticizing the Library; expressed regret that members of the public could not use library systems to make media presentations as part of their public comment, suggesting it was a denial of equal access; suggested that the priorities of Proposition E (Library Preservation Fund 1994) were for books and public services hours, urging that the Commission adopt the people’s priorities for the Library’s budget; and noted that the Board of Supervisors could do so


Responding to Mr. Warfield’s criticism that members of the public were not able to use Library media to make presentations as part of their public comments, Vice President Coulter noted and the Commission Secretary confirmed there were technical equipment problems in doing computer generated media presentations as part of Public Comment and that unlike the Board of Supervisors Chambers the Main Library auditorium was simply not set up to reasonably accommodate this request. Mr. Coulter suggested a speaker could work with the Commission Secretary to become part of the formal Agenda and make arrangements in advance for such presentations. Commissioner Munson noted that a meeting’s agenda was properly focused on conducting the Commission’s business and that if members of the public had suggestions for agenda items they could provide them to the Commission Secretary for consideration.


In response to Mr. Warfield’s criticism of his questioning of the anonymous speaker’s accusations, Vice President Coulter noted that given the seriousness of these charges he had offered the anonymous speaker an opportunity to speak further to substantiate  his accusations and  the offer had been declined. Vice President Coulter noted that in his view it was appropriate for members of the Commission to respond and seek clarification when accusations of misconduct were made against them or other members of city government.


Commissioner Chin noted that it would be better if the speaker took action to raise funds to support libraries instead of subjecting the Commissioners to unhelpful and pointless harangues.






An anonymous member of the Public commented that these minutes reduced this person’s complex metaphors to incomprehensibility; that the central point of public comments was often not reported, citing as examples comments in these meeting minutes attributed to Mr. Crossman, Mr. Mr. Peter Warfield, and an anonymous member of the public as examples; and noted that Commission’s responses to these public comments were not reported either.


Mr. Kimo Crossman found inaccurate and demanded correction of these Minutes report that he had made over 100 public records requests of the Library.


Mr. Peter Warfield commented that the discussion was sad and unfortunate as in his view everyone was merely attempting to make the Library as good as possible; regarding the Minutes that he had specifically said the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force had found the Library in violation of the Ordinance; that his specific concerns about user privacy were not highlighted; and that many of his key points were unreported. 


Ms. Sue Cauthen, a member of the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force and Vice Chair of the Library Citizens’ Advisory Committee, noted there is perennial controversy over minutes’ summaries of comments; that some of the points she had raised had not been included; and suggested that it was preferable that public comment, no matter how horrible, was best left unanswered.


Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #2 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF APRIL 4, 2006


Commissioner Kane called attention to a typographical error in Senator Migden’s name on Page 2.


MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, 2nd by Commissioner Chin for approval of the Minutes of the regular Library Commission meeting of April 4, 2006.


ACTION: 5-0 Aye (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Kane, and Munson)




City Librarian Luis Herrera provided the Commissioners with a summary overview of changes (copy attached) made to the Library’s proposed FY 2006/07 Budget by the Mayor’s Budget Office and submitted by the Mayor to the Board of Supervisors for their consideration since the Commissioners’ approved the Budget in February. Mr. Herrera discussed the specific changes made, such as the elimination of funding proposed for the teen bookmobile, and in particular concerning the additional transfer of $2 million to the Branch Library Improvement Program (BLIP). The City Librarian commended Mr. Manglicmot and his staff for their hard work in collaborating with the Mayor’s Budget Office in finalizing the proposed $7.5 million 2006/07 Library Budget that maintained services, focused increased attention on asset management, on improving security, and providing necessary additional funding for renovation of our branch libraries. .




An anonymous member of the public commented: that the revised budget was problematic; complained that information about the changes had not been provided sufficiently in advance of the meeting to allow careful study of this important matter, applauded as not justified the elimination of the teen bookmobile proposal; applauded the concept of e-budget saying that budget information had always been difficult to obtain, especially from the Library; and suggested a shift of priorities to provide more open Sunday public services hours instead what this person termed violating Proposition E’s goals and using these funds for capital projects.


Mr. Peter Warfield commented: that he was uncomfortable that the information on the revised budget was not available in advance of the meeting; that proposed budget had sufficient revenues that could be used fund many years worth of Sunday public services hours; and noted that he thought it better to open the branch libraries for more hours to serve “at-risk” youth rather than fund the teen bookmobile.


Mr. Kimo Crossman commented: that he would prefer that $25,000 included in the Budget to fund expanded Wi-Fi access be eliminated as the City was about to implement a city-wide Wi-Fi access program.


Ms. Donna Bero, Executive Director of the Friends of the Library commended the Library staff for their attention to detail in the proposed 2006/07 Library Budget;  agreed that the transfer of funds to the Branch Library Improvement Program (BLIP) was key to continued excellence in providing services at our branch libraries; applauded the Mayor’s agreement with Library staff to support  the program, and called attention to the sizable increases in funds available for books and materials in the budget.   


Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #3 MAYOR’S RECOMMENDED FY 06/07 BUDGET


In response to questions by Commissioner Bautista concerning the increase in trash pick up costs, the City Librarian noted that the Library as well as the City had a very active recycling program and that these increased charges related solely to increased costs for trash pick up.


In answer to a query by Commissioner Kane concerning the increase in worker’s compensation costs, the City Librarian called attention to a single catastrophic event that resulted in this sizable cost increase. Mr. Herrera noted that the Library in cooperation with the Department of Public Health was working aggressively to prevent and limit workplace injuries among staff.


Responding to points raised concerning the real costs of additional hours by Commissioner Chin, the City Librarian noted that due to existing and projected personnel costs and growing physical plant needs of the Library system in the coming years he believed that it was not possible to consider addition al public services hours at this time. Mr. Herrera also noted that when reviewing overall public services hours the true costs were a more complex issue and of far significantly greater scale than some members of the public suggested that they were. Commissioner Munson noted that it was not just a question of requests for more Sunday hours but also Monday hours as well. The City Librarian noted that in regard to the providing of benefits to employees the Library was fortunately ahead of the curve thanks to the inclusion in our budget of work on the status of the Pages. Mr. Manglicmot noted that there could be additional costs as this concept of a wider provision of healthcare benefits became more defined and the Mayor’s proposed changes were implemented.




City Librarian Luis Herrera introduced discussion of the current situation facing the Branch Library Improvement Program (BLIP). The City Librarian highlighted the positive impact of the proposed transfer of $4 million from the Library Preservation Fund to the Bond Program, noting this would allow the construction and renovation program to absorb the escalation in the cost of construction and allow the projects to meet project goals as planned. Program Manager Marilyn Thompson then highlighted the details of the projected costs of several upcoming new construction and branch library renovation projects (copy attached). Ms. Thompson noted that the transferred $4 million was proposed to be entirely expended on projects in the next fiscal year. Ms Thompson reported her presentation at the meeting was intended to familiarize the Commissioners with what steps she would recommend, provide information to consider, and that she would propose related action at the June 15th meeting.




An anonymous member of the public commented: that they had a number of questions and expressed dismay at the lack of advance copies and detail in the report presented. This person suggested that this represented problems coming homer to roost pointing to increases in previous BLIP projects that the Commission had approved; and decried the transfer of Proposition E (Library Preservation Fund 1994) monies to the Bond Program and found problematic the lack of details on how the remaining projects , such as Visitacion Valley were to be funded.


Mr. Peter Warfield commented on concerns about the Branch Library Improvement Program offered by the Citizens General Obligation Bond Oversight Committee (GOBAC); applauded discussion of additional Sunday and Monday hours suggesting that the Library Commission act to add more public services hours; and discussed his concern that the Library was not replacing missing or lost out-of-print books or acquiring such materials to fill in gaps in the Library’s collections. 




Commissioner Kane noted that the Library was very fortunate to have the Bond Program in place to provide facilities to offer the public services users needed. In response to a follow-up question on the sources of the escalation of building costs, Ms. Thompson reviewed the various issues at the Ingleside, and Richmond Branch Library construction and renovation projects that had created the cost increases. City Librarian Herrera noted that escalation of construction costs was a significant citywide problem then amplified how the transferred funds would cover these and reasonably anticipated additional costs to complete the projects as planned. Mr. Herrera noted that the Branch Library Improvement Program had been widely praised by the members of the Citizens’ General Obligation Bond Oversight Committee, (GOBAC), and repeatedly cited as the model for other city departments to emulate.  The City Librarian noted that GOBAC had been informed of and supported as prudent the transfer of funds needed to complete the program’s goals.


In response to questions by Commissioner Bautista, Ms. Thompson outlined the next steps in the completion of the new Glen Park Branch Library.


In answer to questions by Vice President Coulter and Commissioner Bautista concerning acquisition of out-of-print materials, Marcia Schneider, Chief of Adults Services discussed issues involved in acquiring or replacing lost or missing out-of print materials, alternatives such as inter-library loans, and concerning the issues of balancing user interests when choosing to acquire materials.  Vice President Coulter noted the Library’s collection development program might look to ways to obtain from the Board of Supervisors an exemption from some of the strictures concerning purchasing in order to obtain these materials. Vice President Coulter noted that in this case Mr. Warfield had a point concerning “missing materials” and about the importance of filling in gaps in existing collections; and that in or out-of-print status should not be a factor in deciding on acquisitions.  Commissioner Kane commended the City Librarian for developing a budget that secured the Library’s funds. There followed a discussion among the Commissioners about various ways to acquire materials to build the Library’s collections, as well as meet the needs of specialized collections. Commissioner Munson suggested working with the Purchaser’s Office to identify ways to simplify procedures to obtain the needed items. The City Librarian concluded this discussion by noting that collection development was regarded by staff as a core function of librarianship.


Commission Chin expressed concern about equitable distribution of the Library’s Bond Program expenditures and requested a report of the breakdown of BLIP expenditures across the City.





 Friends of the Library Executive Director Donna Bero began her report by outlining several upcoming events in the Capital Campaign for Neighborhood Libraries citing a June 4th Ben Fong Torres event benefiting the renovation of the Noe Valley Branch Library, a June 6th, author event featuring James Carroll, author of the House of War; and Dr. Cynthia Kenyon genetics and Aging presentation based on her book Turning Back the Clock. This event it was noted was to be held in the new Mission Bay Branch Library and was jointly sponsored by the University of California- San Francisco. The Friends Executive Director then called attention to the Library’s Adult literacy Program; Project Read’s annual learner and tutor Recognition and Awards event concurrently ongoing in the Library’s Latino-Hispanic meeting room. Ms. Bero then announced a major gift of $500,000 from a well regarded Excelsior Branch Library user, Mrs. Dolores Knight. Ms. Bero noted that Mrs. Knight had previously given a $100,000 gift to the Excelsior Branch Capital campaign and that an area at the Branch Library would be named in honor of both Mrs. Knight and her late husband. Ms. Bero noted that this extraordinary gift had been inspired by the wonderful service provided by the staff of the Excelsior branch Library to Mrs. Knight for many years.




An anonymous member of the public commented against giving to the friends of the library; that this gift should have been donated directly to the Library rather than to the Friends; that they would continue to do their bit for the Friend’s “public comment fund”; and reported that were glad to hear of any event featuring local author Ben Fong Torres.  


Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #6 FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY



Vice President Coulter lauded the wonderful $500,000 gift and Commissioner Bautista suggested recognition by the Library Commission for Mrs. Knight, and perhaps that a cake for her be considered. Vice President Coulter proposed that the meeting be adjourned in her honor.




City Librarian Herrera began his report with the good news that the Main Library had been featured in “Travelsmart Magazine as one of 15 destination libraries nationwide in its April 2006 edition. The City Librarian next reported the return and reappointment of Vivian Pisano as Chief of Information Technology. The City Librarian thanked John Kenny for his outstanding service while serving as Acting Chief of Information Technology. Mr. Herrera then reported on this year’s Volunteer Recognition Luncheon, expressing his appreciation to the 150 volunteers, and thanking Ms. Bero and the Friends of the Library for sponsoring this worthy event. Mr. Herrera then presented a overview of some of the highlights of the Future Public Library Conference.


The City Librarian reminded the Commissioners of the July 8 opening of the Mission Bay Library. Mr. Herrera concluded this month’s City Librarian’s Report with a brief report on details of several upcoming Library exhibits and programs.




An anonymous member of the public commented that there should be honors for those who don’t give to libraries; that there was never enough discussion concerning the future of libraries; that privation of our heritage was not wanted; and that libraries fulfilled an essential intellectual need and were a vital resource.


Mr. Peter Warfield commented: that he was glad for the report; that the conference seemed interesting, but noted that a recent “Berkeley Daily Planet” article he said questioned increasing use of technology such as self-check-out by libraries as automation. Mr. Warfield regretted loss of personal contact with librarians and noted useful information frequently resulted from contact with library staff. Mr. Warfield pointed out that library staff always ranked very high in public surveys of favorability of city services and that “Wired” Magazine had recently featured articles critical of the growing use of RFID technology.  


Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #7 CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT



Commissioner Bautista and Vice President Coulter applauded the impressive work and wide array of programs and services offered each month to the public as was reported in the City Librarian’s Report, commending Mr. Herrera’s leadership. Vice President Coulter observed that given the ups and downs in the long and colorful history of the San Francisco Public Library that this period may one day be viewed as a ”Golden Age”.




No report was offered.




No new business items were proposed





MOTION: by Commissioner Munson, 2nd Commissioner Bautista to adjourn the regular June 1, 2006 Public Library Commission meeting in honor of Mrs. Dolores Knight, in thanks and appreciation of her love for our libraries generosity in support of the Neighborhood Capital Campaign for the Branch Libraries.


ACTION: AYE 5-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Kane, and Munson)


The Commission meeting adjourned at 6:43pm


Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 6/5/06 revised


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).














 Minutes of the Library Commission Meeting June 1, 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.