Minutes of the Regular Meeting of October 4, 2007


(As approved at the regular meeting of Thursday, November 1, 2007)


The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, October 4, 2007, in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.


President Higueras called the meeting to order at 4:42 pm


Commissioners present:  Coulter, Gomez, Higueras and Munson


Commissioner Kane arrived at 5:30 pm.


Commissioners Bautista and Chin were excused.


President Higueras said there would not be a report on Item No. 5, Council of Neighborhood Libraries at this meeting.




An anonymous citizen said that the campaign for the library measure has brought about some fascinating things including the Friends and Foundation going to an editorial meeting with the San Francisco Bay Guardian.  He said that the interview was posted on the web and that he heard the Friends say that they agreed that the ideal would be to not have private money for the library.  He said the Friends thought that the failure to post information on the web by the Library was just some strange technical problem.  He said the Bay Guardian, for their part, agreed that they have contempt for gadflies; particularly the library gadflies.  He also said one of the virtues of public scrutiny is that the Commission has to listen to the public.    


Peter Warfield said the campaign trail for Prop D has been most interesting.  He said the literature in support of Prop D in at least one of the pieces has added wording to make it less misleading.  He said the Sunshine Task Force in September had found that the Library had not properly posted donations listed on the web site.  He said the Task Force had found that the website had not been properly maintained and that it should be reviewed every week.  He said it appears the library has updated the website listings.


A person who identified himself as a legally disabled person said he has enjoyed some of the services of the library.  He said that when you register online for American Disability Act services at the library you must be physically at the library.  He said that is an inconvenience for disabled people.  He said the website does not identify where the specific computers in the library are located.


City Librarian Luis Herrera said the Library would get the person’s name and contact information and look into it and get back to him.




Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said it had been a long time prior to the last meeting that the Commission had met at Bayview.  He said these minutes are pretty good with a considerable amount of detail and some specificity about the subjects discussed.  He said that anything controversial had been completely obliterated from the minutes.


Peter Warfield said it is a pleasure to read improved minutes but said there were a few points where they could be improved.  He said at the bottom of page 1 under Public Comment regarding his comments about the Friends interfering with his receiving information, he said it was important to note that this occurred at a meeting regarding the group’s endorsement for Prop D.  He said on page 5 he would like his remarks to be corrected to read “that the Sunday hours are the ones most requested by the public.”  He also said his poem about the plums was about a great deal more than plums and should be more explicitly described.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Munson said he took exception with the comment that Sunday hours are the ones “most” requested, because this was discussed at the Bayview branch and they had requested an additional weekday and not additional Sunday hours at this time.


Commissioner Coulter said that his remarks on page 3 regarding Mauricio Vela’s comments were not totally clear.  He also said it was important to add that the letter he read from Mr. Tilles was about the music collection.


Motion:  By Commissioner Gomez, seconded by Commissioner Munson to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of September 6, 2007, as amended to clarify Commissioner Coulter’s remarks on page 3 agreeing with the anonymous citizen’s remarks about Mauricio Vela from the Bernal Preschool having made a comment under public comment that the Preschool was dissatisfied with the new facility.  Also to clarify that the letter referred to by Commissioner Coulter on page 3 was regarding the print music collection.


Action:  AYES 4-0: (Coulter, Gomez, Higueras and Munson)





City Librarian Luis Herrera said that the Glen Park branch was the 12th branch in the library system and has had service for over 70 years.  He said this will be the first time we have a permanent City owned facility, and it will be opening on Saturday, October 13 at 1:00 pm.


Kathy Lawhun, Chief of Main, said they are pleased to give a report on the scanning and digitization of municipal reports, which are a unique source to city government.  She also invited the Commissioners and the public to go to the Eureka Valley branch and bring any historical photographs of gay San Francisco.


Susan Goldstein, Manager San Francisco History and Book Arts Section, said that the Eureka Valley event collecting photographs of gay San Francisco would be Sunday, October 14.  She said the Library is partnering with the Open Content Alliance and showed their website which is  She said there are a lot of contributors including Berkeley, who has scanned about 50,000 books so far.  She said the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library (Friends) gave a grant for $5,000 to allow the Library to do a first seed project.  She said the Internet Archives charges $.10 per page for scanning and different presentation styles and storage so it is a very good price.  She said if you go to the SFPL home page and type municipal reports in the catalog section you will get all San Francisco Municipal reports from 1859-1917.  She said they are used a lot by researchers.  She said the Library is hoping to continue with this project and add additional materials from the archives.  She said the library is looking for other partnerships to help pay for the scanning of these materials.  She said this is the soft launch and she is looking for more publicity.


Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian gave an update on the expanded hours at some of the branch libraries.  She said the expanded hours will be effective October 21, 22 and 25.  She said there are banners, buttons, flyers, festivities and information available on the Library’s website.


Pat Fahrenthold, Chief of Technical Services, gave a review of the Catalog Department.  She said the Catalog Department is one of three Departments of Technical Services.  She said the offices are at 190 9th Street.  She said the Catalog Department is responsible for cataloging and processing books and non-print audiovisual materials for use by the public and Library staff and responsible for the creation and maintenance of bibliographic records, authority records, and item records in the catalog.  She said the Catalog Department’s goals are availability, accessibility and accuracy.  She said accomplishments in FY06-07 include cataloging of materials from Project Read and Deaf Services; and adding 308,971 items, a 43% increase over FY05-06.   She said challenges for FY07-08 include increased budget including more funding for international language materials; filling vacancies and training new staff; and continuing to review processes to increase availability, accessibility and accuracy of library materials.  


Toni Bernardi, Chief Office of Children and Youth Services, reported on the Summer Reading Program for 2007.  She said the purpose of the program is to encourage reading as a regular habit, help children maintain reading levels over the summer and provide varied and enriching library experiences.  She said that there was a nice increase in the number of participants and finishers in some of the categories and said they would continue with efforts to get new participants and groups involved in the program.


Commissioner Kane entered the meeting at 5:30 pm.


Luis Herrera said that the participation of various groups such as Day Schools, etc. is very exciting in the Summer Reading Program.


Marcia Schneider, Chief of Communications, Collections and Adult Services introduced Lisa Vestal, the Library’s new Chief Curator and told a little bit about her background.   She gave an overview of highlights of upcoming adult programs and events including Litquake 2007 and said approximately 75 authors will take part.  She said the Library will also be hosting Kidquake on October 10.  She said there will be a Mayoral forum on Oct. 11 and a lot of wonderful activities surrounding the One City One Book.   She said the Library will be hosting a number of environmental programs and will be partnering with the Water Department on a program on earthquake preparedness.


Public Comment            


An anonymous citizen expressed his concern that not allowing private citizens to have access to computers to make electronic presentations is becoming increasingly discriminatory and disadvantageous.  He said there was a presentation about discussions with the Glen Park neighborhood going back to 2001 and there was no mention about those discussions being very controversial.  He said he was very interested in the digital library and was concerned about when you send someone to another site from your website how sure are you that they will be able to go back to the library site.


Peter Warfield said this was extremely interesting and he wished that some of these were separate issues on the agenda so that there could be more public comment.  He said regarding the digitalization he would like to hear more details about the way these items are scanned and the scope of what will be digitalized.  He said one thing was potentially troubling and that is sponsorships and partnerships for digitalization of items.  He said it introduces a bias as to what is accessible to the public based on private funding.  He said there should be a policy for how this is handled.  He said there are still problems with cataloging.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Coulter said he was very excited about the digitalization

report.  He said it allows more of the information to go out because not everyone can come into the library.  He said the report cataloging sounds very positive.  He said he is not very troubled with bringing in partnerships as long as those partnerships meet the needs of the library and serves a substantial segment of the community.  He gave a special thanks to the Friends for coming up with some seed money for the digitalization.  He said he loved the graphics for the Summer Reading Program.  He said we can’t do enough to encourage children to read.  He said having the activities report done in the graphic format is terrific.


Commissioner Gomez said she agreed the report on upcoming activities was really great.  She said she was excited about the digitalization of materials and she thought that Susan Goldstein’s choice to begin the process with our City’s historical records was a fabulous one.


Commissioner Munson said he was very happy to see the data on the cataloging and the number of items added.  He said it was very efficient




Donna Bero, Executive Director, Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, said that the 43rd annual Big Book Sale was very successful.  She said there were over 250,000 books for sale and it took 15 18-wheelers to bring them in.   She said more than 11,000 people attended and they sold about $251,000 worth of books.  She said it was a wonderful way to support the library.  She said the Yes on D campaign has added several more endorsements including the San Francisco Bay Guardian and many other groups and organizations.  She said there are now more than 30 community and political groups endorsing Yes on D.  She said the Neighborhood Library Campaign will be sponsoring a Garden Tour to benefit the Portola branch library on October 20.  She said the Ingleside and Bernal Heights branches have developed historical calendars for fundraisers for the branches.  She said there were several other upcoming events as well.  


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said he had also been out on the campaign trail and that it had been controversial.  He said you would think it was an overwhelmingly popular proposition but, in fact, there are a number of people who know the history of the library and know better than to support it. 


Peter Warfield said the Friends’ donations appear now to be on the Library’s website.  He said one of the things he routinely hears is that money raised by the Friends is going to the Library.  He said the Commission should ask what portion of the $251,000 in sales from the Big Book Sale is in fact going to the Library, because the Library does not have any kind of Memorandum of Understanding with the Friends so there are no rules as to how much goes to the Library.  He said that would be useful information to know.


Andrea Grimes, Special Collections Librarian, said she wanted to thank the Friends for their generosity in inviting the librarians to the preview event to make selections from the books for the library prior to the public sales.  She said the library picked up books in many subjects such as automobiles, cookery, travel, mythology, literature, etc.  She said it gets better every year.


Commission Discussion


President Higueras said it was great to hear the news about the Big Book Sale.




As previously noted by the President this item was not heard at this meeting.




Roberto Lombardi, Facilities Director, said that they had changed their name from Operations and Maintenance to Facility Management.  He said the goals are to provide: safe facilities for patrons and staff; efficient collection and analysis of condition information for renewal and maintenance budgeting; user friendly work order communication for library staff; continuous Green Building improvement; and feedback and measurement of performance.  He gave a progress report on what was happening to meet those goals.


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said this was a fascinating report and very reassuring.  He was happy to hear about the priority about initiating services during an emergency.  He said the primary deficit of the report is the budget itself and the dollar amounts for all of these proposals.


Peter Warfield said it was an interesting and extensive report.  He had a question about the LEED program and sustainability standards being applied to the new branches.  He said that it seems those standards have fallen by the wayside.  He said the renovation of the main floor men’s room does seem to be completed but he noted that there seems to be a lack of a check off list that shows when maintenance is scheduled or when it has been done.


Melissa Riley speaking for herself and another colleague said they are thrilled with this report.  She said it is great to have the Library capturing, sharing, archiving, utilizing and requesting feedback about its own facilities.  She said it will help make the libraries work much better for all of us.  She said the bird screening in the loading dock is a wonderful addition to the library.  She said as a librarian, she found an article in a supplement to Library Journal at the website  She said the article said it is easy being green if you know where to find ideas and inspiration. 


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Munson said this is an excellent start and he would like to see some of the budget numbers with this as well.  He said it would be helpful to know what the routine maintenance cost is for a branch.


Roberto Lombardi said the Facilities budget for maintenance is $10,042,623.  He said the Library is trying to improve the way we analyze the budget to try to dig down and separate out costs to see if we are within the standards.  He  said he did appreciate the suggestion by Mr. Warfield for the checklist for the restrooms so he will look into that. 


Commissioner Gomez thanked Roberto for his report and said she understood how difficult it is to communicate this type of information to lay people.  She said she understood exactly what he was saying and she appreciated his enthusiasm. 


President Higueras said he was gratified that we are looking at ways to insure that facilities are kept looking as good 10 or 15 years from now as they do the day they are brand new or renovated.  He said that doesn’t happen by accident.  He said he was pleased to see this approached in a methodical and professional manner.  He said it’s important to protect the place and the materials and this is very heartening to see another aspect of how we do business.


Roberto Lombardi thanked all of the staff that were involved in this and he said there is a real synergy going on in the Library at this time. 


Commissioner Kane said it is very important to maintain our facilities and important to keep the City Librarian out of the “Chronicle Watch”.  He asked about the number of work orders per day.


Roberto Lombardi said the Library is looking at the technology to better keep track of the number of work orders.




Sue Blackman, Library Commission Secretary, presented the proposed Library Commission 2008 meeting schedule and said that she is recommending that due to holidays and vacations that the Commission only hold one meeting during the months of January, July, August and December, 2008.


An anonymous citizen said the number of meetings is now down to 20 Commission meetings a year.  He said this is the continual retracting of the Commission’s involvement.  He said that when he first started attending the meetings there was one Commission meeting a month and six committee meetings each month.  He said 20 times a year is not quite the attention this institution deserves.  He said meeting at 4:30 is a virtue and it would be nice to move that to 5:00.


Peter Warfield said he was happy that this year meetings were moved from 4:00 pm in 2006 to 4:30 pm in 2007 and it would be nice if meetings could be held at 5:00 pm or later next year to make it more convenient for the public and staff from the branches to attend.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Munson said it might be possible to hold meetings later in the day and asked if meeting times can be changed during the course of the year.


Francesca Gessner, Deputy City Attorney, said that the Commission is required to adopt a regular meeting schedule with regular starting times and dates.  She said the Commission can have special meetings with different times with proper noticing.


President Higueras said that his experience is that people will generally find a way to come to a meeting they are interested in.


Commissioner Gomez said that the Arts Commission meets at 3:00 and people that need to come to those meetings attend those meetings at that time.


President Higueras said he would like to see the Commission meet in the community more often.


Commissioner Kane agreed with meeting out in the community more often at least once a quarter.


MOTION: by Commissioner Munson, seconded by Commissioner Gomez, to approve the 2008 meeting schedule.


ACTION:  AYES: 5-0.  (Coulter, Gomez, Higueras, Kane and Munson).




There was no labor union report.




There was no new business.




Public Comment


There was no public comment on this item.


MOTION: by Commissioner Munson, seconded by Commissioner Gomez, to adjourn the regular meeting of Thursday, October 4, 2007


ACTION:  AYES: 5-0.  (Coulter, Gomez, Higueras, Kane and Munson).


The regular meeting of October 4, 2007, of the San Francisco Public Library Commission adjourned at 7:02 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).