Minutes of the regular meeting of Thursday, September 21, 2006

(As approved amended November 2, 2006).

The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, September 21, 2006 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.

The meeting was called to order by President Higueras at 4:10 pm.

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

Commissioners Chin and Kane’s arrival was expected. A quorum was present.




An anonymous member of the public commented on their previous lawsuits against the Library; the City Attorney’s Office action concerning declaring them to be a “vexatious litigant;” the Friend’s use of Library facilities to make presentations at  Commission meetings while they were denied; about who they believed benefited from the Commission’s response to its critics.


Mr. Bill Soro, a Bernal Heights resident, spoke in support of retaining the City College Preschool Program at the Branch Library; reported that the preschool activists found the proposed alternative site a the Paul Revere School un acceptable; criticized the Commission and disagreed with the Commissioner’s allocation of library funds for other branch libraries while providing none to facilitate the Preschool’s continued use of library space in the Bernal Heights Branch Library.


In response to Mr. Soro’s comment, President Higueras again explained that the requirements of law prohibited the use of library bond funds for non-library uses.


Mr. Brock Estes, Vice-Chair for UTU 1741, School Bus Driver’s Union, and 4th generation San Franciscan discussed the inadequacy of the Paul Revere School as a location for the Bernal Heights City College Preschool Program; found the Commission’s conduct shameful; and criticized the discourtesy shown to those opposing the Library’s plans at a community meeting held to discuss the renovation of the Bernal Heights Branch Library.


Ms. Allison Lum, Bernal Height Community Center, spoke in support of the Preschool returning to the Branch Library after its renovation; and discussed gentrification as a critical problem facing the community.



Mr. Mauricio Vela; “Save the Preschool-Stop the Eviction”commented: on the Commissioner’s choosing to provide additional funding for other branch libraries, but not for Bernal Heights; that the Library Commissioners would be held accountable for their decisions by the community; that the Paul Revere School was not going to be ready for use as the alternative home for the Preschool as promised, that Preschool’s proponents were working to develop plans for the future Preschool Program’s co-location at the Branch Library; and that the community would continue to struggle to achieve their aims. 


Ms. Gladys Soto, St Mary’s Park resident, spoke in support of the City College Preschool Program returning to the Bernal Heights Branch Library noting that she had a child that she hoped to one day enroll in the Preschool Program; and that this was another example of the Bernal Heights Community losing a critically important resource for low income families.


Mr. Rich Walsh, Friend’s of the Library Board member discussed: this year’s 42nd annual “Big Book Sale”;  about the recent activities of the Friend’s of the Library’s Capital Campaign for Neighborhood Libraries; and called attention to the upcoming November 17th celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the Library’s African American Affinity Center.


Commissioner Kane joined the meeting at 4:38pm.


Mr. Byron Spooner, Friend’s of the Library spoke about the details of the upcoming September 28th through October 1st 42nd Annual Big Book Sale and special preview events.


Ms. Donna Bero, Executive Director of the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library commented on: the feverous activities leading up to this year’s Big Book Sale, the Friend’s exciting activities and plans in support of the  Citywide “Poet’s Eleven” Program in cooperation with San Francisco’s Poet Laureate Jack Hirschman.


Ms. Ellen Egbert, a Bernal Heights resident, commented that their were many divergent views of this issue in the neighborhood and noted that the were many supporters of the renovation of the branch library for use as a neighborhood library that could have also come to the Commission to express support for the Branch Library’s planned renovation; and called the commissioner’s attention to a “Banned Books Week” display in the Main Library’s Fisher Children’s Center.


Mr. Peter Warfield spoke in support of use the Bernal Heights Branch Library for the non-library City College Preschool Program, noting that the Library Foundation had had use of space in the Bond funded Main Library. Mr. Warfield then discussed the Library’s non acquisition of out-of –print materials, and criticized the Commission for straying into matter not noticed on the meeting’s agenda in response to public comments.


Vice President Coulter noted that the Friend’s of the Library existed solely to support our Public Library and that the Friends had raised more than $35 million to enhance the Main Library, an entirely different situation from that of the Preschool Program. The Commission Vice President asked that the City Librarian investigate and report back concerning the situation at the Paul Revere School. Commissioner Bautista noted that the Preschool was not a Library Program, that it had been allowed many years free use of unused space in the Branch Library, and expressed bemusement as to why the Library should be thought to be responsible for resolving its situation. Commissioner Bautista observed that in that the cases involving other branch library projects the Commission had properly used available Library funds to enhance neighborhood libraries as was their responsibility.








An anonymous member of the public commented: that the minutes misrepresented their comments discussing the semantics of their use of Friends of the Library rather than the Friends and Foundation; criticized the report of their presentation on a “veranda factor”; and suggested that the Commission had acted illegally; and noted other “gaps” in the Minutes report of this meeting.  


Commissioner Chin joined the meeting at 4:55pm.





MOTION: by Commissioner Coulter, 2nd by Commissioner Gomez for approval of the Library Commission Meeting Minutes of August 17, 2006.


ACTION:  7-0 AYE (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Gomez, Higueras, Kane, and Munson)






Branch Library Improvement Program Manager Marilyn Thompson that this month there were no informational or special reports and she would only be presenting her regular monthly reports (copies attached) on Budget, Schedule, Active Projects, and Community Outreach Reports, The Bond Program Manager noted that there had been $45,686, 315 in expenditures and encumbrances in the branch Library Improvement Program to date.


The Branch Library Improvement Program Manager presented an overview of the ongoing active projects presenting slides showing details of new construction and renovation projects. The BLIP Manager concluded her September 21st  BLIP Manager’s Report with a slide showing the Bond Program’s upcoming community outreach activities.




An anonymous member of the public commented that they applauded the Deputy City Attorney’s comments concerning the discussion of Bernal Heights Branch Library issues following public comment; and suggested that the preschool’s proponents had no reason to believe the Library’s representation concerning limitation on use of Bond Funds.


Ms. Suzanne D. Cauthen, Vice Chair of the Board of Supervisors Library Citizen’s Advisory Committee, (LCAC), commented on the proposed addition of new as well as old books at the renovated Marian branch Library, and discussed a LCAC presentation on out-of-print materials by Chief of Adult Services Marcia Schneider and Acquisitions Chief Pat Fahrenthold. 


Mr. Peter Warfield commented: concerning the use of different lighting fixtures at West Portal and Sunset Branch Libraries and noted that his point supporting non-library use of Bernal Height Branch Library was that the Main Library had been funded by Bonds as well and that he saw no difference in allowing the Friends of the Library to use of space. Mr. Warfield asked if Bond funds were used for the improvements to the stairs at the Park Branch.


Ms. Thompson reported that no Bond Funds were used in the recent stairway improvements at the Park Branch Library.


Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #3 BLIP MANAGER’S REPORT


                        Commissioner Bautista applauded Ms. Thompson’s timely reporting of all BLIP budget

                        and schedule changes.




The Commission Secretary provided a brief outline of the background that led to proposing that the Library Commission adopt this policy, similar to others in use by other City and County Commissions, which would allow the Commission President, at the request of a Commissioner or the City Librarian, to issue commendatory certificates on behalf of the Public Library Commission in certain circumstances. President Higueras noted that a principle reason for proposing this policy was to facilitate honoring library staff members who had retired.


                  Public comment on AGENDA ITEM # 4 LIBRARY COMMISSION

                  RECOGNITION POLICY


                        An anonymous member of the public remarked in their view use of “secret” recognition

        cheapened any honor that it attempted to bestow and that if the Commission wished to

honor someone they should do so in a calendared public manner that would allow for

public comment.


Mr. Peter Warfield agreed that this proposal would cheapen any recognition offered and also agreed that any such recognition should be done at a public meeting that allowed for public comment. Mr. Warfield decried that lack of any requirement that such recognition be reported to the public.




In response to a question by President Higueras, the Commission Secretary reported this policy to be similar to those in use by the Board of Supervisors, the Recreation and Park Commission, and the Arts Commission. Additionally, President Higueras noted that this adoption of this proposed policy would still allow for recognition for outstanding contributions to our libraries to be calendared for discussion by the full Commission when appropriate. Commissioner Bautista noted that there were other situations, such as when Library staff received significant professional honors when such recognition would be also appropriate. In response to a question by President Higueras, the City


Librarian noted that the Library’s annual staff recognition program was not focused on recognition of those staff who had retired. In response to discussion regarding how to report such awards Commissioner Kane suggested that the City Librarian could include report of any such recognition conferred in his regular monthly reports to the Library Commission.


MOTION: by Commissioner Kane, 2nd by Commissioner Munson for approval of the proposed Library Commission Recognition Policy as proposed.


ACTION:  7-0 AYE (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Gomez, Higueras, Kane, and Munson)




MOTION: by Commissioner Chin, 2nd Commissioner  Bautista to adjourn the regular September 21 , 2006 Public Library Commission meeting.


Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #10 ADJOURNMENT


ACTION: AYE 6-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Gomez, Higueras, and Munson)


The Commission meeting adjourned at 5:37pm.


Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 9/22/06


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




















      Minutes of the Library Commission Meeting September 21, 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.