SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION

 

Minutes of the Regular Meeting of September 16, 2010

 

(As approved at the regular meeting of October 7, 2010)

 

The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, September 16, 2010, in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.

 

The meeting was called to order at 4:33 pm.

 

Commissioners present: Breyer, Gomez, Kane, Munson and Nguyen

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Commissioners Ono and Hayon entered the meeting at 4:35 pm.

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 1 PUBLIC COMMENT

 

An anonymous citizen said one of the principles of libraries is that history matters.  He said there have been many scandals in the history of the library but the fundamental scandal is the privatization scandal which mandates there can’t be honesty, decency or justice, because it might interfere with fund-raising.  He said a handful of individuals who are more important than the truth are not just the enemy of democracy, it is the enemy of everything that benefits the society as a whole.

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said it is sometimes rather sad to know that the Park Library’s historic value will be greatly diminished.   He said the library has lacked respect of its history with its pursuit to demolish the North Beach Branch and its demolition of the Ortega Branch library.  Destruction of the past should be added as one of the scandals of the library.

 

Anne Wintroub, Friends of the Library, invited the Commissioners to visit the Readers Café at Fort Mason Center adjacent to the Book Bay Bookstore with all proceeds benefiting the library.  She said the Big Book Sale begins Tuesday September 21 and will have over 500,000 books and she invited everyone to attend.

 

Sue Cauthen said there have been some newspaper articles recently about the North Beach Branch Library.  She said one article in the Chronicle was written by the head of Architectural Heritage and a woman for the National Trust for Historic Preservation supporting the landmarking of the branch.  She said they have looked into some of the reasons why the Chronicle in general has been so negative about the landmarking.  She said the Chronicle owns 41 properties in San Francisco and 29 are commercial properties of historic value.

 

Ray Hartz, Director San Francisco Open Government, said there are times when he has sensed a sort of hostility towards certain people making public comment.  He said he recommends that the Commissioners go back and look at the Constitution as it relates to public speech.  He said on at least three occasions the City Librarian has made public comment.  He said he thinks it is inappropriate because he is not a member of the public.  He said upstairs in the lobby there are books for sale and a number of those are advanced reading copies and they state not for resale so it is illegal to sell those books.

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 2. CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said over the last 8-9 months staff has been engaged in looking at streamlining in certain areas.  He said today we would like to report on Delivery Operations.

 

Robert Lombardi, Facilities Director, and management liaison to the Area Focus Team on Delivery Operation said the charge of the group was to increase efficiencies in the delivery stream.

 

Terry Gwiazdowski, North East District Manager, and Chair of the Area Focus Team said materials are sorted and moved by people on vehicles. She said these materials include new materials, reserved materials and Link+ materials.  She said the items are being sent back and forth because they are sent to one location but owned by another.   She said in the last three years circulation has increased by 30%, holds have increased by 40% and Link+ over 300%.  She said the committee wanted to reduce the delivery stream and their recommendation was to incorporate downstream deliveries into the routes.  She described the additional recommendations and implementation process.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian said they did not go into a lot of detail on Delivery Operations but the bottom line is we want to improve and expedite service to the public.  He said other members of the team are also present if you have additional questions.  He said he would like to give the Commission some background on the Civic Center Community Benefit District (CBD) and then bring the item back at the next meeting for action on the item.  He said it will require Commission approval in terms of the Library’s participation in the CBD.

 

Roberto Lombardi, Facilities Director, said the CBD is a proposed special assessment district.  He said the goal of the CBD is to improve coordination and communication around the management, image, safety, beautification and cleanliness of the greater Civic Center area.  He said the 25 member Steering Committee has held nine meetings with property owners since May 2009. He said based on the feedback received the Steering Committee on August 4, 2010 unanimously voted to select an assessment formula and to move forward with the establishment of a District.  This marked the end of the investigative phase and is the beginning of the formation stage.  He described the zones in the CBD and the services the CBD will provide.  He said the general timeline shows that the Commission will take action on a resolution of support on October 7.  On October 12, 2010 a Resolution of intent with final documents will go to the Board of Supervisors with the final hearing at the Board on December 14, 2010.  If approved, the formation of the District would begin July 1, 2011. He said the proposed annual operating budget is $743,970 and the Library’s portion of that is $21,397.01.  He said that is approximately 2.19% of the overall budget.  He said he believes the assessment is a very fair formula.  He said future budgets are capped by law at 3%.

 

Toni Bernardi, Chief of Children and Youth Services, gave a presentation on the Summer Reading Program.  She said that Summer Reading Matters and helps to stop summer learning loss and summer brain drain.  She said the Children’s Summer Read program was Water Your Imagination and she went over the highlights and the weekly special programs.  She said the Kid Power program was for students 10 – 15 years of age.  She said 630 kids volunteered and the number of hours volunteered was 7,563.  She said the theme for Teen Summer Read program was Go with the Flow.  She said 861 teens registered and 170 teens attended a teen summer reading party.  She said the Library continues to work with schools and other organizations to make summer learning a community wide, inter-agency priority.  She said none of this would be possible without the support of the Friends of the Library.

 

Terry Carlson, Manager Richmond Branch, said this is the first year the Library has had an Adult Summer Reading program.  She said there are no prizes for the adult reading program.  She said there are many types of programming at the Main and the branches.  She gave the statistics and said there were 4057 books read and 1253 people attended programs.  She said the Bayside (East) won the challenge between the Oceanside and the Bayside libraries.

 

Michelle Jeffers, Public Relations Officer, said the One City One Book Selection this year is Zeitoun by Dave Eggers.  She said there are 30 programs this month and next.  She said the main event: Dave Eggers in conversation with Beth Lisick will be Thursday, October 14 in the Koret.  She said there are a number of sponsors for the program.  She said the second annual Tricycle Music Fest West is coming up in October.  She said Read for the Record will be on October 7. 

 

Lisa Vestal, Chief Curator, said there are many upcoming exhibits in the Library including Singgallot (The Ties that Bind) in the Jewett Gallery.  She said there are related displays in the African American and Filipino American center and the Filipino American Center.  She said there have already been seven related programs and three more will take place in October.  She said another wonderful exhibit will be opening on Saturday in the Skylight Gallery and the Hormel Center.  She said it is Celebrating Fabulous/Activist Bay Area Lesbians with Disabilities a 40 Year Retrospective and will run through November 21, 2010. 

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said the agenda item lists four specific topics.  He said that specificity is there because of one of his lawsuits.  He said the City Librarian has tried to bypass the requirements in the past by using “public comment”.  He said the City Librarian is a policy officer and the public has a right to notice of topics for discussion.  He asked about future deliberations and discussion by the Commission and said that those should be made public.  He said with respect to the Community Benefit District the word stakeholder was used, and this is another example of the gated community syndrome.

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said the update on Delivery Operations sounds like a radical change to the whole delivery process and that was not reflected on the agenda.  He said where is the respect for the completeness of the collection for a magazine run.  He said it sounds like a radical change.  He said this should be further described and discussed as a separate agenda item.  He said the CBD has serious question marks.  He said the costs should be documented.

 

Ray Hartz, San Francisco Open Government, said very often a lot of technical jargon is used and the language should be clear for the public to understand.  He said he has not heard how the Library will benefit from the CBD.  He said the report on the Summer Reading Program was beneficial. 

 

Melissa Riley said she is a librarian and on the Executive Board of the Union for the library.  She said the Adult Summer Reading Program was great and there was a party.  She said it was great hearing about the special programs and exhibits and it would be nice if the library shared with you some of the greatest reference questions some of the librarians receive.  She said the Union members and the Board will want to hear more about the CBD.

 

Commission Discussion

 

Commissioner Ono asked if the cost of the Delivery Operations recommendations is provided for in the current budget or will they be part of next year’s budget.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian said there are short term recommendations that are not incurring any costs.  He said there are long term recommendations that have to be further analyzed. 

 

Commissioner Ono asked if there are more recent studies on summer reading programs.

 

Toni Bernardi, Chief of Children and Youth Services said they will report back on current studies.

 

Commissioner Ono said that the cost of the Community Benefit District (CBD) will be included in next year’s budget.

 

Roberto Lombardi, Facilities Director, said the Board of Supervisors have the right to vote for the Library on the CBD but they very much would like to hear from the Library.  He said it will be brought back to the Commission at the October 7 meeting for action.

 

Commissioner Munson said it is useful for the staff to bring to the Commission information prior to the time action is requested.

 

Commissioner Breyer said it would be helpful to get information ahead of time on technical items such as delivery operations.  He asked for further clarification on several issues relating to the program.

 

Roberto Lombardi, Facilities Director, said the goal of downstream delivery is to get materials to patrons more quickly. 

 

Terry Gwiazdowski, North East District Manager, said the idea of having a branch sorting machine would make it easier to move materials around more quickly.  She said there is not currently the space or the money to have the sorting machines at the branches.  She said the circulation numbers are the items circulating around.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said we will continue to report back to the Commission on operations processes.

 

Commissioner Hayon said in general she supports Community Benefit Districts (CBD).  She said she would like to hear the specific advantages to the Library from the CBD.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said they will bring back additional information on the CBD at the next meeting when action will be taken.

 

Toni Bernardi, Chief of Children and Youth Services, responded to a question from Commissioner Breyer and said they are looking at ways to expand the Kids Power volunteer program to a year round program.

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 3 LIBRARY CITIZEN’S ADVISORY COMMITTEE (LCAC) ANNUAL REPORT

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said they have been asked to table this item to a future meeting.

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 4. BOND PROGRAM MANAGER’S REPORT

 

Lena Chen, Bond Program Manager, said this month there will be the regular budget and schedule reports.  She said this month’s budget report shows the approved budget as $188,910,119.  She said the Bayview Branch is in the Bid/Award process and the North Beach Branch is in the EIR/Design Development phase.  She said eight branches are in construction.  She said they are working closely with the contractors and they will report back to the Commission by the end of the year to update the opening dates for each project.  She said a schedule change for the Visitacion Branch library will be brought back to the Commission in October.  She said schedule changes for Anza, Ortega and Golden Gate Valley will be brought back by the end of the year. She said by this time next year all eight of the projects in construction should be complete. She showed photographs and gave reports on projects in construction including: Parkside; Visitacion Valley; Ortega; Anza; Merced; Golden Gate Valley; Presidio and Park.  She said the construction contract was awarded to Liberty Builders for the Bayview Branch on August 31, 2010.  She said they are awaiting documentation from Liberty Builders before we can certify the contract.  She said they anticipate issuing a Notice to Start Pre-construction Services in early October.  She said the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the North Beach Branch Library was published on August 25, 2010.  She said the Planning Commission hearing will be October 7.  She said the comments on the DEIR are due on October 12.  She said the Historic Preservation Commission recommended landmarking the building and the next step will be the Land Use Committee of the Board of Supervisors.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said the comments on the DEIR for the North Beach Library and Joe DiMaggio playground are due to the Planning Department by October 12.  He said the document is available at the Planning Department or through their website and anyone is allowed to make comments. 

 

Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said the Historic Preservation Commission voted 4-3 on September 1 to recommend landmarking the North Beach Branch Library.  She said that will be introduced to the Board of Supervisors and then heard by the Land Use Committee. 

 

Lena Chen, Bond Program Manager, gave a summary of public outreach for the program. 

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said the slide covering the Presidio Branch shows a one-year delay and it took him a while to figure out that it was a typographical error.  He said he recently visited the Visitacion Valley Branch and said the building is much larger and dominates its site more than he had been led to believe.  He said he was disappointed they did not hear more about the community controversy about the North Beach Branch.

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said there is a partial picture of the vandalism of the wonderful formerly uninterrupted space at the Park Branch with the area carved out for the staff.  He said he would have liked to know more about the Adult Summer Reading Program and there was no notification at the closed Park Branch about the program.  He said the construction site at the Park Branch looks like a mess and it is very difficult to see signage.

 

Ray Hartz, Director San Francisco Open Government, said he attended several of the Historic Preservation Commission meetings and he expressed concern to them because at the meeting where they were going to take the vote, the agenda had indicated that Public Comment had been closed. He said public comment was then allowed. He said the meeting times to these public meetings are not always convenient for the public to come. 

 

Commission Discussion

 

Commissioner Nguyen asked about the partial funding for the North Beach Branch Library.

 

Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said we do not have a construction estimate for the building since the EIR has not been certified.  She said once the design is complete after the EIR is approved, the Commission will have the opportunity to adopt the design and fully fund the project, which time we will need to identify the funding.

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 5. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF AUGUST 19, 2010

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said if you look at the discussion on page 8, President Gomez’s comments that the Minutes are required to give a summation of what has been said are not appropriate because her remarks go to the policy of the minutes, which was not listed on the agenda. He said his comments on page one do not accurately reflect his comments.  He said his comments regarding the Chinatown Branch are reflected accurately.

 

Ray Hartz, San Francisco Open Government, said he asked that the following Section of the Sunshine Ordinance Section 67.16 be included in the Minutes:  “Any person speaking during a public comment period may supply a brief written summary of the comments that person made to the policy body, which shall if not more than 150 words be included in the Minutes.”

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said he was glad to see some of the positive comments that were made about former Commissioner Carlota Del Portillo included in the minutes.  He said Commissioner Munson had some positive comments to make about correcting some comments in the Minutes of the July 15, 2010 meeting.

 

 

Commission Discussion

 

There was no commission discussion on this item.

 

Motion:  By Commissioner Munson, seconded by Commissioner Hayon to approve the minutes of August 19, 2010.

 

Action:  AYES 6-0: (Breyer, Gomez, Hayon, Munson, Nguyen and Ono).

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 6. ADJOURNMENT

 

Public Comment

 

There was no public comment on this item.

 

Motion:  By Commissioner Munson, seconded by Commissioner Hayon to adjourn the regular meeting of September 16, 2010. 

 

Action:   AYES 6-0: (Breyer, Gomez, Hayon, Munson, Nguyen and Ono).

 

The meeting adjourned at 6:35 pm.

 

Sue Blackman

Commission Secretary

 

Please note:  These are draft minutes subject to revision by the Public Library Commission.  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 http://sfpl.org.  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).

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.

Comments submitted by Ray Hartz under Approval of the Minutes, Item No. 5:

It would seem the Library Commission has a rather restrictive view on the purpose for minutes.  It is a negative view that the minutes are an onerous task to be performed only because of the requirement in law.  It would be more positive to understand the possibility that minutes can serve.  Good minutes allow members of the pubic to participate in a Library Commission meeting which they cannot attend.  It helps give members of the public an understanding of the decisions made by the Commission.  It also allows members of the public with concerns about Commission decisions to express those concerns.  If done properly, minutes cannot simply inform the public, but, can encourage interest and even participation in the ongoing operations of the Commission and the San Francisco Public Library in general.  This is something, I feel, is a basic responsibility of any city commission or board.

The follow comments were submitted by the Anonymous Citizen: 

Item 1: General Public Comment

 

Anonymous Citizen: Stop the Hate, Stop the Ignorance – Don’t accept money from the Friends & Foundation

 

Do you remember all of the scandals?  Anywhere else it would have been Library Privatization Gate.

 

There was the book dumping scandal, the card catalog scandal, the Fuhrman Fund scandal and many others.  Underlying them all were numerous Sunshine violation scandals.

 

The fundamental scandal is the privatization scandal which mandates there can’t be honesty, decency or justice, because it might interfere with fund-raising. 

 

All decent people donate to the Friends, and you can prove it. Lies and ridicule are what private influence pays for.

 

Lies and ridicule only protect you from the truth.  If your status cannot coexist with the truth how valuable could it be?

 

A handful of individuals who are more important than the truth are not just the enemy of democracy; it is the enemy of everything that benefits the society as a whole.

  

Item 2: City Librarian’s Report

 

Anonymous Citizen:  Stop the hate, stop the ignorance – Don’t give or accept money from the Friends & Foundation.

 

It would be nice if the citizens had access to the graphics.

 

This agenda item lists four specific topics.  That specificity is there because of one of my lawsuits to promote the access required by the Sunshine Ordinance and the Brown Act.  It is true that the City Librarian thinks it is a joke to bypass those requirements by using “public comment.” He is your policy officer and the public has a right to notice of topics for discussion.

 

Now the City Librarian stated that he will give you the details “afterward.”  After the public has gone home?  The public is entitled to hear your deliberations as a commission.

 

So what are the details of the “floating collection”?

 

With respect to the “Community Benefit District” you used the magic word “stakeholders” which separates those with power.

 

Item 4: Bond Program Manager’s Report

 

Anonymous Citizen:  Stop the corporate rape of the public library – Don’t give or accept money from the Friends & Foundation.

 

The red line in the schedule report indicates the current month, which is good news.

 

The slide covering the delays shows the Presidio Branch with a one-year delay. It took a while to figure out that this was a typographic error, but I did finally figure it out.

 

I recently visited the Visitacion Valley construction and it is larger and dominates its site more than I had been led to believe.

 

I am disappointed we did not hear more about the controversies swirling around the North Beach Branch.  Many people are drawing the proverbial line in the sand.  Advocates for the library’s position have not only been maligning landmark designation for North Beach Branch but maligning the idea of historic preservation itself which may be problematic.

 

We will all be watching this closely.

  

Item 5: Approval of the Minutes (August 19, 2010)

 

Anonymous Citizen:  Stop the hate, stop the ignorance – Don’t give money to the Friends & Foundation.

 

Approval of minutes on page 8 quotes the president, “[minutes] are required to give a summation of what has been said.”  The president actually said the opposite, that minutes reflect commission action and do what the commission asks them to do.

 

First, agenda requirements include notice of topics.  Approval of minutes is not notice of a discussion of commission policy. Agenda requirements are so that you cannot be misinformed without the public being able to address it.

 

Second, the contents of the minutes are set by the San Francisco Sunshine Ordinance which requires that the minutes contain a summary of what the public says and is not subject to your discretion.

 

Public comment on page one regarded the mechanism connecting the contempt for the public with the planning disasters.

 

The Chinatown comments are accurate and I appreciate it.