Minutes of the regular meeting of Thursday, June 15, 2006.

(As approved amended July 20, 2006)

The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, June 15, 2006 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.


The meeting was called to order by Vice President Coulter at 4:11pm.

President Higueras joined the meeting and assumed the Chair at 4:15pm.


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

Commissioners Chin and Kane were excused attendance.

 A quorum was present. President Higueras joined the meeting at 4:15pm and assumed the Chair. Cooley Windsor served as Secretary for this meeting






An anonymous member of the public spoke in opposition to the Friends of the Library; concerning the background to and issue related to the City Attorney’s decision to drop a motion to declare this person to be a “vexatious litigant”; suggested that the City Attorney’s Office had perpetrated a fraud on the court, and commented on  the Library’s Commission’s response to this decision, and wondered if contributions to the “public comment fund” might double when this person accused the Library Commissioners of fraud and misrepresentation. .


Ms. Dolly Bacobo Balunsat, a retired Librarian and the first Filipino- American Librarian at the San Francisco Public Library, invited the Commissioners to attend the this year’s June 17th - 30th Anniversary Philippine American Cultural Program in observance of Philippine Independence Day and Rizal Day; called attention to the important contributions of her late husband Anton Balunsat and her Father Dr. Jorge Bacobo, a past President of the University of the Philippines;  and informed the Commissioners concerning her efforts to promote Philippine Culture and organize and make available her extensive collections of Filipiniana.


Ms. Marian Chatfield Taylor, Friends of the Library Capital Campaign for the Branch Libraries, invited everyone to attend and outlined the planned daylong music, food, and festivities marking the grand opening of the new Mission Bay Branch Library on Saturday, July 8th beginning at 10am and continuing until 4pm.


Ms. Barbara Berman, Friends of the Library, called attention to the summer quarterly book sale and the Book Bay at Fort Mason, a recent James Carroll, author of House of War, author event at the Friend’s offices; and concerning an upcoming June 22nd Hotel Rex Friend’s sponsored art event. Ms. Berman lamented the loss of Proposition 81, the proposed state library construction bond act, but noted that it had received 66.4% support from the voters in San Francisco again showing the strong support for libraries in our community.


Mr. Kimo Crossman spoke about press reports on and his views concerning the City Attorney Office’s decision to withdraw a motion to have James Chaffee declared to be a “vexatious litigant”.


Mr. Jack Cole, a retired librarian, applauded the discussion of acquisition of out of print materials, commended the City Librarian’s memo on the state of the Library’s book collections; thanked Laura Lent and her staff for their diligence in maintaining the Library’s collections, and spoke about his practice of donating such materials to the Library.


President Higueras noted in the interest of presenting a balanced view  that it was the Library Commission’s understanding that the City Attorney’s decision to withdraw his motion that Mr. Chaffee be declared a vexatious litigant was based upon representations made by Mr. Chaffee’s attorney, which Mr. Chaffee has disavowed, that Mr. Chaffee would not be filing additional lawsuits against the Library. 







An anonymous member of the public decried the fact that the minutes were now two months old, and found them distorted, citing two examples, the first in their page 1 public comment that concluded by noting problems that resulted from not listening to public comment, and the second from the report on the Commissioner’s discussion of a Resolution on Prop. 81 that did not report questions on the legality of the Commission’s acting to support a ballot measure and that following the subsequent discussion the motion was amended at the City Librarian’s suggestion, a point that was also not noted.




MOTION: by Commissioner Munson, 2nd by Commissioner Bautista for approval of the Library Commission Meeting Minutes of April 20, 2006.


ACTION:  5-0 AYE (Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, Gomez, and Munson)




City Librarian Luis Herrera began discussion of this item by observing that both of the bids received for the renovation of the Western Addition Branch Library had been greater than the proposed budget for this project. Mr. Herrera then introduced Branch Library Improvement Program (BLIP) Manager Marilyn Thompson to present an overview of the bids and outline her recommendations for this project. Ms. Thompson presented an overview of the proposed renovation project (copy attached) outlining the bid results received on May 10, and highlighted the $2.45 million low bid that resulted



after adjustments in a $975.000 shortfall in the project budget. The BLIP Manager noted that the apparent low bidder on this project had done the renovation of Excelsior Branch Library a similar scale project. Ms. Thompson again reviewed the proposed transfer of $4 million to the Bond Program previously discussed at the June 1st5 meeting which would fund for the renovation of the Western Addition Branch Library and three other projects. The Branch Library Improvement Program Manager noted while the Board of Supervisors had not yet approved the proposed transfer, sufficient funds were available in the Bond Program Reserve to go forward with awarding a contract for the Western Addition Branch Library Project at this time should the Library Commissioners so decide. The Bond Program Manager discussed aspects of the proposed renovation project as well as details of a few add alternates that had been proposed in addition to the original scope of work. It was noted that after renovation there would be an increase in linear shelving in the Branch.  The Bond Program Manager reported circumstances that seemed to have limited the number of bidders at the project’s bid deadline. The Bond Program Manager noted that it was unlikely that the bid climate would improve significantly should a re-bid process be considered. Ms. Thompson presented the options before the Commission to re-bid the current scope of work, to reduce the proposed scope of work and rebid, or her recommended option to increase the budget for this project and award the contract. City Librarian Herrera seconded Ms. Thompson’s recommendation that the Commission act to increase the project budget and continue the ongoing progress of the Bond Program. In response to a query by President Higueras, Ms. Thompson reported the Budget Reserve at $2.2 million.




An anonymous member of the public noted that their remarks would be brief, bemoaned the lack of detail concerning a reported bequest to the Library, and reiterated their opposition to transfers of funds from the Library’s operating budget to the Bond Program.


Ms. Chris Lieshman, Friends of the Library Neighborhood Capital Campaign, noted that community had raised $37,000 so far for the furniture, fixtures and equipment for their Branch Library, observed that that the proposed renovation was fairly basic, and that there was strong sentiment in the neighborhood that this project go forward


Ms. Regina Dick Endrizzi, Assistant to Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, conveyed the Supervisor’s request that the Project Budget be increased as proposed and that this renovation project stay on track as planned without delays or reduction in scope.


Ms. Mildred Ward, a teacher and life long user of the Western Addition Branch Library,  urged that at least the same sized children’s room be retained and recommended the transfer of additional funds necessary so that this important neighborhood serving project could go forward, saying the sooner it was done the better


Ms. Jan Bolaffi, submit lettered  on behalf of Western Addition Neighborhood Association WANA opposing any reduction in the scope of the proposed renovation, against any further delay in getting the project underway and strongly recommended the proposed increase in the Project Budget proposed be approved, and the work go forward.


Ms. Pat Pergo, a regular Western Addition branch user, strongly urged that the project budget be increased and that this project go forward.


Ms. Donna Bero, Friend’s Executive Director, called attention to the passionate commitment and hard work of the supporters of the Western Addition Branch Library working together to support the renovation of their library, urged that the additional funds be provided and that the project go forward.


Ms Effie Lee Morris, retired Chief of Children and Youth Services of the San Francisco Public Library and neighbor of the Branch, noted her history at this branch and called attention to the importance of this popular Branch Library to its neighborhood, urging that the additional funds be added to the budget as requested. 




In response to questions by Vice President Coulter, the City Librarian noted that while there was no guaranteed that the Board of Supervisors would approve the request to transfer the requested $4 million in Library funds to the Bond Program he was optimistic that they would do so. Commissioners asked and were informed that the bid acceptance window closed on August 8th. Commissioner Bautista remarked that this was a multicultural community servicing branch library that was deserving of investment. President Higueras agreed that this investment was critically important but observed that there were serious concerns with the availability of sufficient funds to complete the remaining projects in the Bond Program unless the transfer of funds was authorized. President Higueras noted that should the Board of Supervisors approve the transfer of fund then it will be possible to continue to go forward but that should they not the Commission would quickly have to directly face difficult choices. President Higueras recommended that a decision on this matter be held in abeyance until the July 20th meeting so as to be more assured that the Supervisors were supportive of the necessary transfer. Commission Gomez noted that it could be seen as a slight to the Western Addition neighborhood that resources had been provided to other communities when budget increases were deemed necessary but not for this project. President Higueras noted that no time would be lost and that this was a serious issue that the Supervisors should be made clearly aware of. Commissioner Munson agreed that a pause in the approval of this project would be warranted as long as it was made very clear to the Western Addition community that the delay was not related to any reluctance to realize the project as designed but merely to be more fully assured that the necessary funds to


do so would be available.  President Higueras noted that not only the next four branch library projects but all of the remaining projects depended on the Board of Supervisors understanding the gravity of the decision before them. There followed a discussion concerning Commissioners and supporters of the Library speaking on behalf of the budget transfer at the Board of Supervisor’s meetings. Vice President Coulter agreed a a brief delay in approving this increase to the Western Addition Branch Library renovation project budget  was the cautious and appropriate way of making the Supervisors aware of the importance of this decision.  President Higueras noted that he proposed to speak with every member of the Board to urge them to approve this necessary transfer of available Library funds to meet the challenges that market forces have imposed on the Library’s projects. In response to a query by Commissioner Gomez concerning the efficacy of the Commission’s acting to approve the proposed increase in this project budget contingent on the Board of Supervisors approval of the proposed transfer of $4 million to the Bond Program; the Deputy City Attorney noted that there was no guarantee that the Budget would be approved by a particular date and therefore it might require that the Commission take action again on this question if they did not.


MOTION: by Commissioner Gomez, 2nd by Commissioner Munson for approval of the proposed $997,000 increase in the Western Addition Branch Library renovation project budget in principal, subject to the Board of Supervisor’s approval of the transfer of $4 million in Library funds to the Bond Program Budget and that final approval of this action would take place at the Commission’s July 20th meeting.


ACTION:  5-0 AYE (Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, Gomez, and Munson)





Branch Library Improvement Program Manager Marilyn Thompson reported that she would only be making regular reports at this meeting.  The Bond Program Manager then reported that there had been $44,528,057 in expenditures and encumbrances to date. Ms. Thompson next presented detailed monthly reports on: the BLIP Schedule; the current budget; and new and renovation projects construction reports, (copies attached).


The Branch Library Improvement Program Manager next presented an overview of active projects: new construction; renovations; report on construction work currently underway, and completed this month’s report with information about pending BLIP community outreach activities, (copy attached) concluding with a slide of the Mission Bay Branch opening poster.





An anonymous member of the public criticized the use of white lettering on photographs making them difficult to read; found of interest the unexpected difficulties involving the Presidio Branch retaining wall; found encouraging the discussion of the



Western Addition Branch renovation; and concerning the importance of how the Commission’s action are read by those branch renovations yet to begin; and how responsibly the funds have been handled.


                  Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #4 BLIP MANAGER’S REPORT


                        In response to a question by Commissioner Bautista, Ms. Thompson briefly discussed

                        the four branch library projects; Western Addition, Glen Park, Richmond, and

Ingleside that would be covered by the proposed $4 million transfer to the Bond Program. In response to a question by Commissioner Munson, the Deputy City Attorney clarified which General Fund derived Library Funds were being proposed to be transferred to the Bond Program





The City Librarian began his report with an invitation to the Commissioners to participate in the June 17th celebration of the 85th Anniversary of the Chinatown Branch Library and the 10th Anniversary of its renovation, noting that this popular neighborhood library was one of the oldest, having opened in 1921. The City Librarian next introduced Marcia Schneider, Library Chief of Information and Adult Services and Public Information Officer Sherri Eng, to present recent improvement s made to the former “At the Public Library”, monthly calendar of events.  Ms. Schneider described events that led the now named “At the Library”, to be recreated under the direction of Ms. Eng. Ms. Eng described some of the 250 responses she received to a survey that she had conducted among users of the calendar of events in January. These user comments, ms. Eng noted, provided useful information about what kinds of information various kinds of users wanted. Ms. Eng reported that the new tabloid design better delineated what kinds of events are being held each month at the Library as well as specialized information sections such as the Branch Library Improvement Program activities, Adult Programs, and Children’s Programs. Ms. Eng highlighted the new format’s greater ease in identifying topic areas and noted that the calendar section was also more readable. The Public Information Officer called attention to a “Friends “page reporting various programs and activities sponsored by the Friends of the Library. Ms. Schneider provider the Commissioners with “hot off the press” advance copies of the new July “At the Library”.


The City Librarian next discussed a breakdown report that he had prepared in response to questions concerning the costs related to increased Sunday public services hours. Thee City Librarian then outlined the current 7 Branches offering Sunday and 14 Branches that are open on Mondays, additionally calling attention to the 46% increase in system wide public services hours since the adoption of Prop. E in 1994. Mr. Herrera then introduced Library Chief Financial Officer Jay Manglicmot who presented an




overview of a three year cost estimates (copy attached) for additional Monday hours based on a cost analysis based on service levels, branch library personnel costs, and human resources costs involved in adding hours at 16 branches. The City Librarian then discussed in detail the specific kinds of staffing and operational costs involved in each of these areas of analysis in this scenario. The City Librarian noted that given the scale of these costs demonstrated in this example that he could not recommend adding addition hours would be fiscally prudent at this time.


Mr. Herrera next discussed a memo (copy attached) he had prepared in response to questions raised at a previous Commission meeting on how the Library acquired out of print books, noting that this year the Library had acquired more than 1000 out of print books, primarily from vendors Midwest Library Services and A Libris. Mr. Herrera noted that changes in availability of such materials could make acquiring such books for the collection easier in the coming years.


The City Librarian concluded his report by introducing Toni Bernardi, Chief of Children and Youth Services to discuss this year’s Summer Reading Programs for children and teens. Ms Bernardi discussed in detail both of the two concurrent teen Summer Reading Programs - Teen Summer Read 2006 and The Year Behind Us. Ms Bernardi highlighted several of this year’s award winning poster designs by teens, also to be used on buttons and program materials. Ms Bernardi then called attention to this year’s Harry and the Potter’s concert a musical highlight of the program.


The Chief of Children and Youth Services next discussed this year’s children’s Summer Reading Program entitled “Don’t Bug Me I’m Reading!”. Using the ladybug featured in this year’s poster Ms. Bernardi guided the Commissioners on a quick tour of the literally hundreds of programs being offered to children this summer.




No comment was offered.


Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #5 CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT


In response to a question concerning out of print materials by Vice President Coulter, Ms. Schneider described how the availability of books existing as digital files allowed publishers much greater flexibility in making various sized runs of materials available and thus creating greater ease in acquiring materials. In response to a query by President Higueras Ms. Schneider noted that “At the Library” would be available online as a PDF file. In response to a question by Commissioner Bautista, Ms. Schneider noted that the “At the Library “would feature a variety photographs of the Main Library and branches and could also include art works in the libraries. Responding to a question by President Higueras regarding how we measure success of our summer reading programs, Ms. Bernardi described the statistics gathered as well as input gathered from parents and teachers concerning how the program can be made more responsive to their needs. Ms.


Bernardi additionally clarified that these statistics were gathered by branch and that this various ways were being tried to entice new readers as well as retaining those that had previously participated. The Chief of Children and Youth Services noted that efforts were also underway to involve those who are non-readers. The City Librarian also called attention to the Library early literacy programs as well as efforts to encourage teens. In response to a question by Commissioner Bautista, Ms Bernardi noted that the “Reading Buddy” Program was especially appealing as a means of encouraging readers and was one that the staff was planning to promote.


Vice President Coulter specifically requested that the acting Secretary make sure that Mr. Warfield, a member of the public who had expressed interest in these topics and who was not in attendance at this meeting, received copies of the report on the cost of additional public services hours as well as the City Librarian’s memo on out of print materials




MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, 2nd Commissioner     Coulter to adjourn the regular June 15, 006 Public Library Commission meeting.



ACTION: AYE 5-0 (Bautista, Coulter, Gomez, Higueras, and Munson)


The Commissioners thanked Cooley Windsor for stepping in for the absent Commission  Secretary


The Commission meeting adjourned at 6:20pm.



Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 7/21/06


Please note: Amendments to these minutes are in alternative typeface. 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

City Librarian’s June 15, 2006 Memo concerning out of print books

Extended branch Library Hours Report - 3 year cost estimates










      Minutes of the Library Commission Meeting June 15, 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.