Minutes of the Regular Meeting of July 19, 2007


(As amended and approved at the regular meeting on August 16, 2007)


The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, July 19, 2007, in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.


Vice President Coulter called the meeting to order at 4:35 pm


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


Commissioners Gomez and Kane arrived at 4:42 pm.


President Higueras was excused.


Vice President Coulter served as Acting President.


Vice President Coulter stated that Item No. 8, Addendum to Guidelines for Library Use will be a discussion item only and no action will be taken.  He said that Item No. 5, Partnership for Achievement with the San Francisco Unified School District would be heard before Item 4, City Librarian’s Report.   




Richard Tilles said he is a frequent user of the library and that he and his wife are active with the Friends of the Library.   However, he said he is disappointed with the Library’s music collection.  He said it was incomplete and old and the music collection in the Portland Library is far superior so he was wondering if anything is being done to upgrade the music collection here.


City Librarian Luis Herrera said that staff will look into this and will report back to the Commission.  


An anonymous citizen said that Kevin Shelley had quoted Phillip Burton, who said, “In government things get better and then they get worse so the thing to do was to leave at the peak.”  The anonymous citizen said we have civic leaders to ride out the rough times not to cherry pick the good times. 


Peter Warfield said he was glad to have heard the comment regarding the collection and hopes we hear more about that.  He said WiFi is an issue that he doesn’t believe the Commission has ever addressed and there are a number of library branches and the Main, which now have WiFi facilities.  He said he has done research relating to Radio Frequency Identification Technology and these issues are also related to WiFi.  He referred to two letters that had been written on the subject from the Public Health Department and the EPA.




An anonymous citizen said he had not read the minutes, but he said he wanted to comment on the importance of the minutes and said that we can assume that these minutes are just as bad as always.


Motion:  By Commissioner Chin, seconded by Commissioner Bautista to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of June 7, 2007, as amended to correct the spelling of Therese Cason’s name on pages 8 and 9.


Action:  AYES 6-0: (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Kane, Gomez and Munson)




An anonymous citizen said he had not read these minutes, but he commented on the process and said that going through the minutes fast is not necessarily a virtue.  He said in general spending time on the minutes and making sure we have a solid understanding is a valuable use of our time.


Peter Warfield said that on Item No. 1 under public comment he had made a statement regarding problems with the self-service reserves pick up.  He said that the issue was one of privacy and that had not been reflected in the minutes. 


Motion:  By Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Munson to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of June 21, 2007, as amended to include language under Peter Warfield’s comment under Item No. 1 relating to self-service reserves and clarifying that the issue was related to privacy.


Action:  AYES 6-0: (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Gomez, Kane and Munson)


Vice President Coulter said that Item No. 5 would be heard before Item No. 4.




City Librarian Luis Herrera explained the background of the partnership and said it was part of the Mayor’s Partnership for Achievement.  He introduced Hydra Mendoza, the Mayor’s Education liaison to speak about the partnership.


Hydra Mendoza, Mayor Newsom’s office, said the intent of the initiative that the Mayor and SFUSD have brought forward is to build a stronger relationship between the City and County of San Francisco and the School District.  She said the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) have done an analysis on where city funding is going in terms of the school district and that the Mayor wants to target funds to assist the school district in a more meaningful way.  She said the library portion is a very important part of this partnership.  She said the Mayor goes into the schools twice a week and it has been a wonderful experience for him and the students.


Claudia Sandoval, Director of City and School Partnerships, DCYF, said she wanted to commend the library staff and the school district staff on this collaboration.  She said this is a way to achieve improvement and provide an enrichment experience for the whole child.


September Jarrett, Director of Policy and Planning, representing Margaret Brodkin, Director of DCYF, said that Margaret had really wanted to attend the meeting and was very impressed with this collaboration.  She said a questionnaire was sent to City Departments asking not only what the departments currently do with the school district but what more they could do.  She said the Library’s response really took the opportunity to be proactive in this partnership.


City Librarian Luis Herrera acknowledged Ann Dalton, who is the Program Administrator for the school district and oversees the school libraries, and thanked her for her participation in this partnership as well.


Toni Bernardi, Chief of Children and Youth Services, San Francisco Public Library (SFPL), explained the elements of the Partnership for Achievement including in-service training resource support for SFUSD teachers and librarians; career and college preparation; collaboration with school library staff; and early literacy development.


Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, explained the library card campaign.  She said it is a library card design project administered by the school district with the theme “My Library.”  She said there were four categories preschool, elementary school, middle school, and high school.  Each category had 1 winning design and 3 honorable mention and she showed the winning designs.  The winning library cards will be launched with an awards reception in the fall. 


Public Comment           


An anonymous citizen said the issue of city resources was discussed in 1977 as well as the separation between the goals of the library and the school district.  He asked what sort of leveraged resources this represents. 


Ann Dalton, Supervisor for Text Books and Libraries, SFUSD, said the school district is excited about expanding upon the collaboration with the City and County of San Francisco and to have an organized approach to letting students know about the resources that the library has to offer.  She said there has been an immediate positive response from the library and its staff.  As an example, she said the school district has asked the library to support its request for an educational technology grant to enable parents to log on to student records to provide information to parents.  She said the library staff has been very supportive and responsive to that request. 


Donna Bero, Friends of the San Francisco Public Library (Friends), said the Friends are thrilled with a program like this.  She said speaking personally; she had always wished the public institutions in the city would collaborate more closely to leverage all of the talents and resources available.  She said this is brilliant in its execution.


Peter Warfield said it was an interesting report.  He said the independence of the library is extremely important and his experience with the library as a child was that it was a place where one could go that was not connected to a school and where they had people who would assist you no matter what it was you were interested in.  He said he hoped the programs would be developed in such a way as to not lose the independence of the library and that he would like to hear more about the implementation of these programs.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Bautista said this is an interesting program to help better serve families and children.  As a former teacher, she said she wished this had been available when she was teaching.


Commissioner Chin said the spirit of collaboration makes this wonderful for the youth and families of our city.  She said there are fewer families with children staying in the city, so the more the city can do to serve families, the more it will insure that families will stay in the city and the city will be more vibrant.  She said the academic achievement of our students is of primary importance, so the collaboration that is being forged here is really crucial.  She said it would be great to be able to provide services for English language learners, so that they could learn basic skills.


Commissioner Kane thanked the staff and presenters for launching the program.  He said it is refreshing that everyone is working together on the education of our youth.  He said it would be wonderful to get feedback from teachers and students through surveys so that we can target our resources to the more successful programs and build on this base.


Commissioner Munson agreed with the other Commissioners and said that this is a terrific program.


City Librarian Luis Herrera said that we have had collaborations with the school district in the past but that the difference is we are solidifying that relationship for the benefit of the students.


Commissioner Bautista asked if the library would be evaluating the program.


City Librarian Luis Herrera stated that the program would be evaluated.


Vice President Coulter said that Toni Bernardi should be congratulated on her presentation and all of her hard work on this.




City Librarian Luis Herrera said that the library has ordered 500 books of Harry Potter which will be delivered the same day that the book goes on sale.  He said there are already 800 reserves.  He said that the Board of Supervisors has approved the Library’s budget.  He said that on June 25, the Budget and Finance Committee had redirected a proposed cut of $388,000 for expanded hours.  The adopted budget does include the expanded operating hours plan and Jill Bourne will give that update.


Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said that the staff work group on expanded operating hours had developed the goals for 2007/08 to equalize services across the city, and respond to community needs through geographic distribution of open days, services to children and teens, support for and relationships with area schools and access in underserved areas.  She said on April 5 the Library Commission had unanimously approved the staff plan for expanded hours with added hours at Bayview.  She said because of the additional funding by the Board of Supervisors of $388,553 the new expanded plan will add two additional branches to the total.  She said when the Western Addition branch opens it will have additional hours on Sundays and the Park branch will have additional hours on Mondays.  She said the overall plan will include a total of 15 full time equivalent staff members, including staff for each branch, plus added positions in custodial, delivery, engineering, security and information technology.  She said the next steps are to expedite hiring of the positions.  She said funding will be available Oct. 1, so the goal is to start the new hours around that date.  She also said there will be promotional information available citywide and in the branches regarding the new hours.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said that very few urban libraries are extending their hours so this is very good news for San Francisco.  He gave an update on the Charter amendment and said the only change was on page 4, number 3. B. which was amended to read “debt service may be payable from the Annual Set-Aside in any fiscal year in an amount no greater than:  the aggregate growth of the Annual Set-Aside amount and the Baseline amount over the base fiscal year 2006-2007.”  On July 17 the Board of Supervisors approved the Charter amendment to be placed on the November 7 election ballot by a 9-2 vote.  He said there was a very successful groundbreaking for the Portola branch library and said it will be the first city-owned library building in that community and it will open in 2009.  He said the Marina branch library opening will be on Saturday, August 4 and he encouraged all the Commissioners to attend.


Kathy Lawhun, Chief of Main, gave an update on the renovations to the Main Library and said that the Borrower Services side of the first floor has reopened.  She showed photographs of the area including the self return area, the online application area, new work area, and the new sorting room. 


Marti Goddard, Access Services Librarian, gave an overview of the new exhibit in the Jewett Gallery “Raising the Bar:  New Horizons in Disability Sport”.  She said the exhibit is sponsored by Umbrage Editions who published a large format book in association with the International Paralympics Committee and US Paralympics.  She said this exhibit was originally shown at the United Nations Building in New York, so it is an honor to have it here.  She said the opening program was very exciting.  She said the response has been very positive and she showed some photographs from the exhibit.  She also talked about related programs to the exhibit.


Tami Suzuki, Municipal Records Archivist San Francisco History Center, said that the History Center’s newest exhibit is “The City Redeemed, The Life and Times of Mayor Edward Robeson Taylor.”

She said it opens on Wednesday, July 25 and runs through October 12 on the 6th floor of the Main Library.  She invited the Commissioners to a reception on Thursday, August 2 from 6 – 7:30 pm.   She said the Book Club of California is a co-sponsor.


Luis Herrera said the last exhibit he wanted to highlight was “13+ Contemporary German Artists’ Books.”  He said this exhibit runs from July 21 through October 14 at the Main Library Skylight Gallery.  He said there would be an opening reception on Saturday, July 21 at 2:00 pm in the Skylight Gallery.


Public Comment            


An anonymous citizen said it was unfortunate that the copies for the public on the expanded operating hours plan were not in color since the hours for the branches were color coded.   He said the Board of Supervisors had been pushing for the increased hours and the Library staff has resisted it.   He said last year Supervisor Mirkarimi added $480,000 to the budget for expanded hours and then was told that figure had become $447,000.  He said last week Supervisor Mirkarimi set aside another $406,000 for additional Sunday hours and now we are told that figure is $388,000. 


Peter Warfield asked that non circulating books be kept in the library for popular books such as Harry Potter so that people can at least see the books.  He said there was $2 million moved out of the budget from building structures and improvements and that had not been mentioned.

He said he was concerned that the expanded hours had not yet been implemented and he said that Supervisor Mirkarimi had expressed his concern as well.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Kane said Raising the Bar is an incredible program and he asked if there was any publicity on the website.  He asked if it might be able to have the schools involved in a program like this.  He asked about the additional hours for the Western Addition branch.


Jill Bourne said the Western Addition branch would have the extended Sunday hours when it opens in early 2008.


Commissioner Bautista said Raising the Bar is an excellent exhibit and asked about the possibility of showing it online.


Marcia Schneider, Manager of Exhibitions and Programs, said she likes the idea of doing a virtual exhibition.  She said it would be difficult to take the exhibit to schools because it is on loan, but they will work on bringing in students to see the exhibit.


Vice President Coulter said that a lot of things are going great for the library right now and that gives us an opportunity to improve even further.  He said special exhibits and programs help create knowledge and he thinks that is an important role for the library to play.  He said there are a lot of areas, like customer satisfaction that we can improve on and instill pride in our library system.




Donna Bero, Executive Director, Friends, gave an update on the ballot measure for the Library Preservation Fund.  She said the Board of Supervisors had endorsed the ballot initiative by a 9-2 vote.  She said the Friends will be establishing a Committee in support of the initiative and will be going forward looking for endorsements.  She said the ballot committee at San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) voted to endorse it that morning.  She said the Poets 11 program will be coming to its conclusion on Sunday, August 12 in the Koret Auditorium.  She said the International Poetry Festival will be taking place July 27-29.  She said there is a full roster of poets from all over the world.  She also said we have spectacular sponsorships, partnerships and donor support.  She thanked everyone for their support of the Portola groundbreaking.  She said it was a lot of fun with a lot of people and even break dancing.  She invited everyone to the Marina branch opening on August 4; she said there will be clowns, honky-tonk music, crafts and refreshments.  She also said to save the date for the October 13 opening of the Glen Park branch.  She concluded on a sad note that a great supporter of the library and Friends, Manny Manahan, had died and she asked that this meeting be adjourned in his honor.


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said he did not know that SPUR had endorsed the ballot initiative and found it very interesting based on a meeting earlier in the day.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Chin said it is phenomenal what the Friends are doing and thanked them.





Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said last fall staff presented to the Commission a comprehensive public safety plan and this report is an update on where we are a year later.


Roberto Lombardi, Director of Facilities, gave the update on security activities at the library.  He explained the successful reorganization of the security section.   He said the technology upgrades have been very significant with a replacement of the security camera system and an upgrade of the key card system.  He said there had been physical security improvements of the buildings and equipment.  He said there has been improved security coordination with other city departments including Recreation and Park, Department of Public Works, security coordination with SFPD and Civic Center security coordination.  He said that two new positions will be added to security in the upcoming budget.


Sergeant Patrick Kwan gave an update on what has been accomplished in the last year.  He said the scheduling was redone, to increase presence and response time at the main and branch libraries and that the two additional positions will improve that as well.  He said he restructured the command structure, created more efficient forms, initiated a communication memo, initiated training programs, he implemented the daily briefing, updated alarm notification for branches, updated guidelines and procedures and provided assistance with dealing with problem patrons and dealing with the homeless issues. 


Kathy Lawhun, Chief of Main, gave an overview of the first floor restrooms upgrade, collaboration with the San Francisco Homeless Outreach Team, told about other presentations and collaborations, and requiring a more consistent enforcement of the Guidelines for Library Use.  She said the feedback from staff has been that public safety has improved, but that behavior issues relating to mental illness and chemical dependency is still a challenge, verbal abuse due to intoxication/drug use is difficult for staff to handle and more security presence is still needed.


Dr. Rajesh Parekh, Director of San Francisco Homeless Outreach Team (HOT), said that HOT is staffed by people from Department of Public Health, the Human Services Agency, and a non-profit, Community Awareness and Treatment Services (CATS).   He said outreach and follow up are the main emphasis for the HOT.  He said after doing a planning study, working with the library staff, it was decided to have two people at the library at all times to offer outreach inside as well as on the perimeter.   He said this has been challenging especially inside the library.  He said they have implemented training for library staff and he said they will continue with outreach and case management with the library and the police.


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said that this report is encouraging and does represent some of the comments he has made before.  He said other improvements would be lengthening the time people can spend on computers and getting rid of the book carts.


Peter Warfield said that the men’s room in the library does look refreshed and maintained in a professional way.  He said he was concerned about the security cameras; he would like to know if they are clear and visible.  He said the unshelved books on the book carts continue to be an issue.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Munson said he sees a very dramatic improvement in the last year on public safety.


Commissioner Bautista referred to a news item about a person who was threatened in the library and the concern over some of the smelly patrons and perhaps seating could be further apart.


Commissioner Gomez thanked library staff for presenting this plan and stepping up through training, etc., to help solve some of the problems.


Vice President Coulter said there has been great progress in this area.


Commissioner Chin said it is unfortunate that homeless people have to use the library to rest or clean up and it is a concern.  She said sometimes you have to be tough and let the people know what the institution is for. 


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said this was an holistic approach to solving the problem and he very much appreciates the other departments and agencies participating in the solution.  He said the vast majority of our users, use the library for its intended purpose.


Roberto Lombardi, Director of Facilities, clarified that there have not been additional cameras added but replacement and upgrades have been made to the existing cameras.


Commissioner Bautista said that in her observation security has done a very good job.


Commissioner Gomez left the meeting at 7:20 p.m.




Vice President Coulter explained that because of Charter Section 4.104(a)’s requirement that 10 days notice be given for any rules change, action could not be taken on this item at this meeting and the item would be heard at the August 16 meeting.




Marilyn Thompson, Bond Program Manager, said that there were no informational or special reports.  She gave the regular monthly report and said that the budget report included the most recent budget changes made by the Commission on June 19 and lists every budget change to the bond program that the Commission has made since its inception.   She said every revision requires Commission action. She explained the current Schedule Report and said that it shows the schedule that was approved by the Commission on March 1 and lists every schedule change to the bond program since its inception.  She said fully funded projects will be completed by the year 2010 and the remaining projects will be completed by the year 2011 pending additional funding.  She explained the Active Projects Report including information on new construction and renovations; the Construction Report; and she showed photographs of some of the projects in construction and from the groundbreaking at the Portola branch on July 17.   She also gave the Community Outreach report highlighting the upcoming opening of the Marina Branch library on Saturday, August 4 and the Glen Park opening celebrating on Saturday, October 13. 


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said he regretted that the Commission had tabled the Addendum to Guidelines for Library Use because it will not have the continuity of following the Public Safety Plan presentation. 


Peter Warfield said that he appreciated the clarification that all of the security cameras are inside the library except for the one in the loading dock area.  He would still like to know where the interior cameras are located.  He also asked about cameras in the new renovations and asked what has happened regarding the disposition of the collections that have been removed from libraries for renovation.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Bautista said she would like to commend Marilyn Thompson for her presentation. 




There was no labor union report.




There was no new business.




MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Munson, to adjourn the regular meeting of Thursday, July 19, 2007 in memory of Manny Manahan, a long time volunteer and member of the Friends, and Mary Miller Moses, who retired in 1971 as the Chief of Branches. 


Public Comment


There was no public comment on this item.


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


The regular meeting of July 19, 2007, of the San Francisco Public Library Commission adjourned at 7:42 p.m.


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).