SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION

 

Minutes of the Regular Meeting of October 1, 2009

 

(As approved at the November 5, 2009 regularly scheduled meeting.)

 

The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, October 1, 2009, in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.

 

The meeting was called to order at 4:38 pm.

 

Commissioners present: Del Portillo, Gomez, Kane, Lee, Munson and Ono

 

Commissioner Chin arrived at 4:41 pm.

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 1 PUBLIC COMMENT

 

An anonymous citizen said the Controllerís Audit of the West Portal Branch is still not on the agenda.† He said Supervisor Alioto-Pier has already introduced an ordinance to address some of the recommendations.†

 

Sue Cauthen, Chair of the Library Citizens Advisory Committee (LCAC),

said LCAC approved a resolution on the Branch Library Improvement Program requesting a comprehensive briefing by SFPL on the activities of the BLIP program from the City Librarian at an upcoming LCAC meeting.† She asked that the resolution be placed in the minutes. ††

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said the responses to the Controllerís audit have been interesting because it appears the Department of Public Works does not like to do the paperwork.† He said the Sunshine Task Force heard two complaints from the Library Users Association and they voted 5-3 that the Library Commission had unlawfully silenced a member of the public.† He said they did not have the required 6 votes to take an official action, however.† He said the library had other sunshine issues relating to provide public documents as well

 

Donna Bero, Friends of the Library, said there will not be a full Friends report at this meeting but she did want to commend everyone who was involved with the Banned Books celebration including President Gomez who officiated at the event.†

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 2 BAYVIEW/ANNA E. WADEN BRANCH LIBRARY BRICK SCULPTURE

 

Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, gave the background on the Bayview Library and said the Commission had taken action to acquire the adjacent lot and build a new building on the site.† She said construction of the new building does necessitate the demolition of the existing library building impacting the Overhoff structure integrated into the current libraryís exterior wall.

 

Brian Bannon, Chief of Branches, said there has been an extensive community process for this branch.† He said the branch will have a number of unique features including a green roof and public art.† He gave the background on the sculpture.† He said the library looked at relocation options for the sculpture in the new library, but issues include context with the new design, structural impacts, lighting, visibility and cost.†

 

Jill Bourne said that the staff is recommending that the Library Commission direct staff to initiate the legal 90 day notice process which gives the artist an opportunity to claim and remove the brick sculpture at their own cost and that the Commission urges the Arts Commission, in the event that the artist or another party does not remove the brick sculpture, to de-accession the piece and approve the demolition of the sculpture in conjunction with the demolition of the current Bayview/Anna E. Waden Branch Library.

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said sometimes it is not possible to preserve a piece of art.† He said art and the artist need to be respected.† He said the mood of the neighborhood should be considered before a piece of public art is destroyed.

 

Linda Brooks-Burton, Bayview Branch Library Manager, said the Bayview community respects, appreciates and loves art but the community has been planning the new branch library for over a year.† She said there have been hard decisions to make. †She said the protest is coming from the artist and the architect of the existing building.† She said there is not a plaque commemorating the sculpture.† She said the community is not that tied to it.

 

Jeffrey Betcher, resident in the area and organizer of Quesada Gardens Initiative and part of the Bayview Footprints said he has talked to a lot of people in the area and he has not heard from one person concerned about the sculpture or even who knew the sculpture was there.† He said the fact that it symbolizes violence is out of sync with the new library and what it represents.† He said he wanted to applaud the library on the community process during which time the sculpture never came up.

 

Malik Seneferu said he has been a Bayview resident, artist and community activist for nearly 40 years.† He said if he had known more about the sculpture he would have appreciated it more.† He said art is for people.† He said there is a point where art is null and void and people donít see it.† He said this art should not hold up the future of the new library.

 

Lydia Vincent said she was born and raised in Bayview.† She said she is one of the Koshland Fellows.† She said she did not want to disrespect the artist.† She said there is a cultural and recognition program in the shipyard.† She said she suggests that people who are interested in the sculpture get together and raise funds to move the sculpture to the shipyard.

 

Larry Ware, resident poet said he has documented and remembers a lot of things about the Bayview.† He said the sculpture could be relocated somewhere if people want to preserve it.† He said he is looking forward to a brand new branch library.

 

Virgie Newman said she operates a faith based after school program in the Bayview community.† She said they have enjoyed a collaborative relationship with the library.† She said she attended all of the community meetings.† She said there was a spirit of optimism and hope.† She said she did not hear any protests about going forth with the new library.† She said the residents want a new start.†† ††

 

Doris Vincent said she has been a resident of Bayview since 1960 and she hope that the library will move forward with the new library.† She said she respects the art and she believes there is a way to save the sculpture.

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said neighborhood and community input is very important.† He said the library has not been kind to its assets whether historic or otherwise.† He said it is unfortunate that there was not a plaque or something identifying the structure. He said 90 days does not seem like a fair notice period to the artist to relocate the sculpture.

 

Commission Discussion

 

Commissioner Del Portillo asked if the artist is aware of the situation

 

Susan Pontious, Program Director, Public Arts Commission said the artist is aware of the situation and he is very adamant that he would like the work preserved.† She addressed the Arts Commissionís de-accessioning process.† She said they have been looking at cost estimates.† She said the Arts Commission has no money for this and the funding would have to come from some other source.

 

Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said the reason they are asking the Commission to make a decision today is so that this does not impact the schedule for the Bayview Branch at all.† She said it is also the preference that it does not impact the budget.† She said this branch will be part of the second series revenue bond sale and the budget will be coming back to the Commission for review.

 

Commissioner Chin said what is revealing to her is that everyone who spoke was in support of moving forward with the library and she wondered why no one came to speak on behalf of the artist.

 

Commissioner Lee said they have heard from the citizens of Bayview and he believes they should proceed.

 

Motion:† By Commissioner Lee, seconded by Commissioner Munson to approve the Resolution directing staff to initiate the legal 90 day notice process which gives the artist an opportunity to claim and remove the brick sculpture at their own cost and to urge the Arts Commission, in the event that the artist or another party does not remove the brick sculpture, to de-accession the piece and approve the demolition of the sculpture in conjunction with the demolition of the current Bayview/Anna E. Waden Branch Library.†

 

Action:† AYES 7-0: (Chin, Del Portillo, Gomez, Kane, Lee, Munson and Ono).

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 3. UPDATE ON POSSIBLE INITIATION OF LANDMARK DESIGNATION BY THE HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION FOR CERTAIN BRANCH LIBRARIES

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said this item is to discuss and possibly urge the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) to approve the Planning Department staff recommendations regarding initiation of landmark designation of the Park Branch Library and five Appleton & Wolford Branch Libraries Ė Parkside, Marina, Merced, North Beach and Eureka Valley.† He gave the background on the HPC and the BLIP agenda items that have been discussed at the HPC.† He said SFPL landmarked buildings are Chinatown and Mission (2001); Noe Valley (2008) and Sunset and Presidio (2004). He said branches nominated for landmark status are Richmond and Golden Gate Valley.† He explained the engagement with Historic Preservation Specialists on the BLIP program.† He said the action recommended is to approve a resolution urging the HPC to concur with Planning staff recommendations regarding: †Postponing initiation of Parkside and Merced landmark designation until after completion of current renovations; postponing initiation of landmark designation for the Park Branch Library until after completion of the current remodeling project and to not initiate landmark designation for the North Beach Library.

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said the Commission is hearing about these issues for the first time.† He said the City Librarian read from a report but the entire report was not included in the backup.† He said the library has no respect for history or preservation.

 

Sue Cauthen said she has been to all of the HPC meetings and she is very concerned with these issues.† She said she is very concerned about the North Beach library.† She said the planners gave the North Beach branch very high marks for historic integrity and architectural significance.† She said the Planning Departmentís statement that extra green space is more important than demolishing a library is irrelevant and incorrect.† She said a number of organizations oppose the demolition of the North Beach library.

 

Howard Wong said he is a resident of North Beach and is representing Friends of Appleton Wolford.† He handed out material supported by many organizations and preservation professionals who believe the Appleton Wolford libraries are historic.† He said the triangle property in North Beach has been a very contentious property since it was taken by eminent domain for open space and its use should remain open space.†

 

Joan Wood said she is a third generation San Franciscan and has lived in North Beach since 1962.† She said a renovation of the North Beach library will save the taxpayers about $4 million.† She said the library is taking a lot that is supposed to be a park.† She said the demolition will cause environmental damage.† She said it is lucky a full Environmental Impact Report is being done.† She said the Library wants to hold off the landmarking process until after the renovation, but Western Addition lost its chance to be landmarked because of a renovation.

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said the Libraryís renovation program has gone on for nine years.† He said the HPC had heard nothing about the historic renovations and it was brought to them by public spirited citizens.† He said the Library went ahead and demolished the Ortega Branch and has damaged parts of the Merced Branch and rushing ahead with a closure and bad planning for the North Beach Branch.† He said the Library should respect the process.

 

Brian OíFlynn said he is in favor of preserving the existing North Beach Library.† He said the intent of the voters was to preserve existing libraries.† He said the Commissionerís job is to represent the publicís interest and safeguard the publicís funds for the renovations.† He said in this time of global climate change the greenest way to construct the library is to renovate the existing library.

 

Donna Bero, Friends of the Library said the purpose of this item is to ask the Library Commission to concur with what the Planning Department staff is recommending.† †She said the HPC is charged with looking at preservation only.† She said there was an overwhelming desire for a new library in the North Beach community.† She said the Friends of the Library do not automatically support the Libraryís position but when they see something that clearly serves the community we feel the need to speak out.

 

Commission Discussion

 

Commissioner Munson said the Commission is being asked to support the Planning Departmentís recommendation to the HPC and he thinks that is perfectly appropriate.

 

Commissioner Lee said there has been a lot of discovery on this issue and he concurs with the Planning Departmentís recommendation.

 

Commissioner Chin said she grew up in North Beach and as kids they would go to the North Beach Branch Library.† She said there was not a childrenís section and it was very small.† She said to have a new library with a childrenís section and a teen section would be great.† She said the relationship between the Recreation and Park Department and the Library is unique.† She said proceeding in this way would make it possible to have a larger library to serve the youth in the area.† She said she would like to see the branch reflect more of the Chinese culture.

 

Motion:† By Commissioner Munson, seconded by Commissioner Chin to approve the Resolution urging the Historic Preservation Commission to concur with Planning Department staff to initiate landmark designation of the renovated Marina and Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Memorial branch libraries; to postpone initiation of landmark designation for the Parkside and Merced branch libraries until after completion of the current renovation projects; to not initiate landmark designation for the North Beach Branch Library; and to postpone initiation of landmark designation for the Park Branch Library until after completion of the current remodeling project.

 

Action:† AYES 7-0: (Chin, Del Portillo, Gomez, Kane, Lee, Munson and Ono).

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 4. FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY REPORT

 

There was no report at this meeting.

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 5. CITY LIBRARIANíS REPORT

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian said there was a wonderful celebration of the Ingleside Branch on September 12.†† He said hundreds of people attended and he thanked the Commissioners who attended.

 

Vivian Pisano, Chief of Information Technology, said the goal for the new San Francisco Public Library website was to redesign the website with an entirely new architecture and navigational system and one that would be easy to use and offer more functionality.† She said there was a complicated process for updating the website.† She said a local San Francisco firm was chosen to design the site.† She said there was a staff website advisory task force to help with design and usability decisions.† She said a number of items were added along the way.† She said the teen page was designed in house.†

 

Skye Patrick, Web Services Manager, gave a presentation on the newly designed site with the major highlights. She said every page on the site will have a copy in both Spanish and Chinese.† She explained the various features of the site including the kidís site and the teen site.

 

Vivian Pisano said before launching the site they will introduce it to the staff and give staff some time to familiarize themselves with it.† She said there will also be evaluation tools available for the staff and the public.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said on August 20 the Library Commission passed a resolution urging approval of the restoration of the Bernal Heights Branch Library mural on the Cortland side of the building and to paint over the mural on the east and south sides of the building.† He said that went to the Visual Arts Committee of the Arts Commission on September 16.† He said the item was continued to their October 21 meeting.† He said there was substantial public comment at the meeting of September 16.† He said there was some lack of clarification on who has the ultimate authority on the mural.† He said he will keep the Commission apprised of the Arts Commission action.

 

Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said the library is always looking for innovative ways to provide services to children and teens.

 

Christy Estrovitz, Early Literacy Specialist, said the Tricycle Music Fest West will be held at the Main Library, October 10, 2009 and is being held in conjunction with the Friends of the Library.† She said it is the first ever concert series.† She said it involves seven branches and seven concerts.† She said they are partnering with many early literacy partners to promote the event.† She said the annual Read for the Record event will be held on October 8, 2009 in partnership with JumpStart and the book will be The Very Hungry Caterpillar She said there will be 25 branch events and a press conference and a kick off at the Main Library.

 

Jennifer Collins, Teen Services Specialist, said Teenquake will be held on Friday October 16th from 6:30 Ė 9:30 pm.† She said this will be the first time ever the Main Library will be open after hours for a teen event.† She said Teenquake is funded by the Friends of the Library.† She said it was inspired by similar events around the country.† She said it will be a literary festival open to ages 13 Ė 18 and part of the larger Literary Festival Litquake.† She said they have been fortunate to have youth interns to help with the program.†

 

Annie Lu, an intern on the program Teenquake, said there will be several activities including author panels and film screenings.† She said there will also be a scavenger hunt.

 

Jennifer Collins said there will be an emcee battle, poetry readings, and California Poets in Schools.† She said many local organizations have been involved in sponsoring the event.

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said since he has been involved with the library there have probably been 7 or 8 iterations of the website.† He said he has probably been resistant to all of them.† He said they are more toward stimulating and distracting rather than functional and understandable.† He said this is similar to the Yahoo website with flashy stories and finding what you are looking for on the fringe.† He said having a return home is important on each page.

 

Ellen Egbert, Bernal Heights, said at the August 20 meeting it was obvious that the Commission was relieved when they were told by the City Librarian and the Deputy City Attorney that the Bernal mural issue was going to be decided by the Arts Commission.† She said at the Arts Commission on the 16th people in attendance were told that the Visual Arts Committee cannot approve or disapprove the mural.† She said they explained that any restoration that is done must meet the city standards.†

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said the new website looks like a kind of Disneyland.† He said he did not hear what the purpose or the goals and objectives of the new website were or what the problems are with the existing website.† He said it appears the catalog on the site has been demoted to a secondary menu.

 

Commission Discussion

 

Commissioner Kane said the website looks interesting and exciting and he wanted to make sure there was a section on BLIP which would include the Controllerís audit.† He asked if the budget could be included on the website.† He said access to the catalog should be easy.†

 

Vivian Pisano, Chief of Information Technology said there are various entry points on the new website into the catalog.

 

President Gomez said the website is a beautiful design and will attract a full spectrum of people.

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 6. †LABOR UNION REPORT

 

There was no labor union report.

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 7. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF AUGUST 20, 2009

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said the whole idea of the law is to allow citizenís comments to be included in the minutes and speaking with their own voice.† He said on page 6 there is a comment by the anonymous citizen that does not reflect the discouraging comments he made about the Friends.†

 

Peter Warfield said it is important that names and specificity be included in the Minutes.† He said on page 4 under the discussion of the Bernal mural Gladys Sotoís comments should say that she values the fact the mural contains Spanish words and should include the story she told about that.† He said there were other comments by him in the minutes that did not accurately reflect what he said.

 

Motion:† By Commissioner Del Portillo, seconded by Commissioner Munson to approve the minutes of August 20, 2009.†

 

Action:† AYES 6-0: (Chin, Del Portillo, Gomez, Kane, Munson and Ono

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 8. ADJOURNMENT

 

Public Comment

 

There was no public comment on this item.

 

Motion:† By Commissioner Munson, seconded by Commissioner Chin to adjourn the regular meeting of October 1, 2009.†

 

Action:† AYES 6-0: (Chin, Del Portillo, Gomez, Kane, Munson and Ono).

 

The meeting adjourned at 6:58 pm.

 

Sue Blackman

Commission Secretary

 

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 Libraryís 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.

 

Item 1: General Public Comment

 

Anonymous Citizen: The Controllerís audit that is still not on your agenda was expected August 3 and actually issued August 27.  It calls attention to $405,000 in liquidated damages that were missed, and Supervisor Alioto-Pier has already introduced an ordinance to address some of the recommendations. 

 

Presumably the audit will come before you when the administration can tell you it has been addressed, and is moot.

 

The defense of the Department of Public Works is that the boilerplate is too burdensome.  This should be very alarming to a policy body that can only add conditions and directions if policy directives can be disregarded as boilerplate. 

 

Ed Reiskin told the Capitol Planning Committee that if there is ever any accountability he is out of here.  This reflects your attitude that there is a cocktail party going on somewhere.  By refusing to recognize feedback and accountability you are basically endorsing your own ignorance.

 

Item 2: Bayview/Anna E. Waden Branch Library Brick Sculpture

 

Anonymous Citizen: Wouldnít it be nice if the citizens had access to the computer graphics?

 

Sometimes it is not possible to preserve a piece of art, yet there are social and intellectual obligations to do so.  An aspect of the creation of art is that art and the artist needs to be respected.  One of the motivations of art, especially public art, is the attempt to communicate with future generations.  Art reflects a commitment that something about our time and place needs to be preserved for future generations. 

 

A French teacher of mine described the view on the Champs-Elysees as stirring because it was left by previous generations and will be there for future generations. 

 

I donít know how I would vote, if I could vote, but certainly a major factor is whether the mood of the neighborhood will tolerate the destruction of something that was created for a profound purpose.

 

Item 3: Update on Possible Initiation of Landmark Designation by the Historic Preservation Commission for Certain Branch Libraries

 

Anonymous Citizen: Stop the corporate rape of the public library Ė donít give money to or accept money from the Friends and Foundation. 

 

The vast majority of the speakers on the previous item were allowed to complete their thoughts.  In the interest of fairness, I hope this liberality of the chair will not be selectively applied.

 

You are hearing this resolution for the first time although the controversy existed for several months.  The City Librarian read from a report that he didnít want to incur the expense of copying.  Isnít our time worth more than the copy charges?  We might have learned things from the report not beneficial to the administration.

 

The history of this institution shows a complete lack of respect for the past.  This Commission has always said, destroy it, move it, get it out of the way because we represent the new . . . whatever.  There has never been respect for preservation.

 

Item 5: City Librarianís Report

 

Anonymous Citizen:  Stop the hate, stop the ignorance Ė donít give money to the Friends and Foundation. 

 

I was mortified to miss the opening of the Ingleside branch.  I assume a good time was had by all.

 

The website has gone through several iterations and I probably was resistant to all of them.  The changes, like this one, usually move away from functional and understandable, toward stimulating and distracting.  I would be happier if this were not so similar to the Yahoo website with flashy stories in the center and finding what you are looking for on the fringe.

 

What did the presenter do at the end?  She went to a tiny link at the bottom of the page that said, home.  Making it easy to get back where you started is an essential part of functionality.

 

The Teenquake might be a better promotion of libraries if the prize were not a Nintendo.

 

Item 7: Approval of the Minutes (August 20, 2009)

 

Anonymous Citizen: Stop the hate, stop the ignorance Ė donít accept money from the Friends and Foundation. 

 

The citizen summaries are not treated as disdainfully as they have been in the past, but slightly more reasonable is not the same thing as reasonable.  The law requires you to summarize citizenís comments and if citizens want to supply their own summaries, they will be included.  If those citizens are misguided about what they said, still they are speaking with their own voice, which encourages people to participate and that is what democracy is supposed to be about. 

 

For example, there is a comment about the Friends on page 6, and it is not up to the Secretary to clean up or make more palatable what I said.  Of course, you can go past the end of the minutes, past the boilerplate and find what I said, but that is not the same thing as ďincluded.Ē