SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION

 

Minutes of the Regular Meeting of October 7, 2010

 

 (Approved as amended at the November 4, 2010 regular meeting)

 

The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, October 7, 2010, in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.

 

The meeting was called to order at 4:40 pm.

 

Commissioners present: Breyer, Gomez, Munson, and Nguyen

 

Commissioner Kane arrive at 4:53 pm

 

Commissioners excused: Hayon and Ono

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 1 PUBLIC COMMENT

 

An anonymous citizen said he considers his engagement with the Library as an attempt to investigate evil.  He said the nature of evil is that you think you are good people.  He said what he sees as barriers and obstacles you think are necessary to separate yourselves from the rest of us.  He said it is the truth you are suppressing.   

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said the library has unfortunately been demonstrating a rather poor respect for its public and its users.  He said there is appallingly bad signage at the branches that are closed with respect to notifying patrons of alternate service.

 

Ray Hartz, San Francisco Open Government Director, said that most of you are respectful during public comment; however, the President seems to avoid eye contact and sends a message to the public that public comment is not important.  He said he has had a hard time trying to decide whether to use the word hubris or arrogance and he said arrogance is winning out.  His said his primary purpose at these meetings is to make sure public comment is fairly heard by the Commission.

 

 

 

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 2 CIVIC CENTER COMMUNITY BENEFIT DISTRICT (CBD)

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said at the last meeting they made a presentation on the CBD and they were back at this meeting to ask the Commission to endorse the CBD and to urge the Board of Supervisors to approve City participation.

 

Roberto Lombardi, Facilities Director, said he was here to provide information and respond to any questions the Commission may have.  He said Jim Chappell, who has a lot of experience with community benefit districts in the City is also here and available to answer any questions.  He showed a map of the CBD.  He said the services will be daily cleaning and maintenance; ambassador patrols in daytime with special event patrols in Civic Center; beautification such as signage, lighting, streetscaping and greening; public space and sidewalk activities and advocacy for improvements in Civic Center.  He said the next step is for the Library Commission to approve a resolution endorsing the proposed Civic Center Community Benefit District.  He said currently the ballots of the property owners are expected to be counted at the December 14, 2010 Board of Supervisors meeting. 

 

Jim Chappell said he had led San Francisco Planning + Urban Research Association (SPUR) for 15 years.  He said he is on the Board of Directors for the Union Square Business Improvement District (BID).  He said that has been operating very successfully for more than a dozen years.  He said he is on the Board of Directors of that District.  He said when SPUR moved to their Mission Street site they immediately went to work to form the Yerba Buena Community Benefit District, which has now been in operation a little over a year.  He said a key part of these districts is the ambassadors who walk around the districts.

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said that we should not give money to the Civic Center Community Benefit District.  He said the terms stakeholders and ambassadors are used.  He said this is an admission of defeat.  He said Supervisor Elsbernd asked how this is cost effective if the main stakeholders are governmental agencies.  He said you should be accountable, as the public’s representatives.

 

Cathy Bremer, Chief Steward of the Library Chapter SEIU Local 1021 introduced Maki Matsumura, and said the Union believes that the Library is part of the commons, which should be free and available to everyone.  She said the Civic Center is the responsibility of the City to take care of.  She said they see this as a direct violation of their contract because you will be hiring people at minimum wage.  She said this is undercutting union workers.  She asked that the Commission not support this CBD and to take a step back and look at it again. 

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said he agrees with the previous two speakers.  He said this is an attitude of sweeping away trash and certain individuals.  He said it is an ugly attitude. He said there is nothing that explains how the CBD is going to be governed.

 

Ray Hartz, San Francisco Open Government Director, said you are going to pay another $20,000 a year to provide services that the City is already responsible for providing now.  He said he would like to see something that shows the actual difference between what is being provided now and what would be provided under the CBD.

 

Commission Discussion

 

Commissioner Munson asked if it would be possible to get a comparison of what services will be provided under the CBD compared to what is currently provided.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian said the Library will continue to maintain its own resources for security or custodial services.  He said there will be no cuts to library staff for these services.

 

Roberto Lombardi, Facilities Director, said the CBD will do a current assessment of the services are provided and work to insure that those services are still provided.  He said the CBD serves as an enhancement not a replacement. 

 

Commissioner Breyer said we just heard that the Unions are concerned about replacement of employees and what the wages would be for the employees of the CBD.

 

Jim Chappell said the workers would come through a City funded nonprofit social service agency that trains formerly homeless and unemployed people for these jobs.

 

Roberto Lombardi, Facilities Director, said part of the service of the CBD is to help people get the services they need.

 

President Gomez said this program was very successful with the beautification of providing services in the Mission.

 

Commissioner Breyer asked if it is possible to use City employees to provide some of the services.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said there are currently City employees providing some of these services.  He said this is an enhancement program.

 

Roberto Lombardi, Facilities Director, said that about 43% of the participation is through government agencies.

 

Commissioner Kane asked about where it fits into the budget and confirmed that there will be no termination of any library employee.  He said these services do not get done without CBDs and they do make a difference.  He said his wife’s sister works for the company that prepared the report, but he has checked with the City Attorney and there is no conflict so he just wanted to make full disclosure.

 

Commission Nguyen said he would like to know more about how the employees would be hired.

 

Jim Chappell said that the CBD will be run by a Board of Directors and they will be subject to the Brown Act.

 

Commissioner Breyer asked if there is a way to structure the CBD differently in order to utilize city employees.

 

Roberto Lombardi said that the government agencies will be part of the Board of Directors.

 

Commissioner Nguyen asked about the $20,000 and where that money would come from.

 

Roberto Lombardi, Facilities Director said that will all be part of next year’s budget process.

 

Commissioner Breyer asked about the possibility of continuing the item so that he could get more information about the Union’s concerns.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said this could be continued if the Commission feels there is not enough information.  He said the timeline is moving forward to the Board of Supervisors, so if it is continued the Board might not have the Commission’s input into the matter.

 

Roberto Lombardi, Facilities Director, said the Commission would be recommending to the Board an action.  He said there are two small typos in the Resolution.  He said in paragraph three the word San Francisco is repeated so one of those needs to be removed.  He said in the fourth paragraph the first line should read “WHERAS, the Civic Center Community Benefit District Steering Committee. . .” with the word Benefit being added.

 

Motion:  By Commissioner Munson, seconded by Commissioner Kane to approve the Resolution endorsing the proposed Civic Center Community Benefit District (CBD) and urging the Board of Supervisors to approve City participation as amended as outlined above.  

 

Action:  AYES 4: (Gomez, Kane, Munson, and Nguyen). NAY 1: (Breyer)

 

 

 

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 3. CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said Vivian Pisano, Chief of Information and Technology, will be retiring.  He said Vivian has been a long standing professional for more than 25 years contributing to the Library profession.  He said for the last 10 years she has been the Chief of Information Technology.  She has been instrumental in our web design, and has been very active on the Committee of Resource and Technology among many other contributions.

 

President Gomez gave Vivian Pisano a commendation from the Library Commission and thanked Vivian for helping her transition into the 21st century.

 

Vivian Pisano said thank you for the recognition and she said it has been great to be part of Information Technology.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said Brian Bannon has been asked to take over the duties of Interim Chief of Information Technology.  He said Brian has done a wonderful job as Chief of Branches for the last four years.  He said Brian will continue to be engaged in the BLIP program but Martha Neves, who has been working for the library for 39 years and has worked her way through the ranks, will be serving as Interim Chief of Branches.  He said the next item under the City Librarian’s report is the Trends in Library Use and Performance Measures 2009-2010.  He said they will be presenting Trends in Service, Programs and Outreach.   Other trends will be reported on at later Commission dates.

 

Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, gave the presentation on Trends in Library Use on Services, Programs and Outreach.  She explained performance measures in general and how they are determined.  She said maintaining library open hours is a top priority.  She said library visits continue to climb.  She said library card registration is up.  She reported on the number of questions answered annually and the types of questions answered.  She said patron satisfaction is measured through a continual online survey.  She said attendance at public programs for adults have increased.  She gave examples of Adult Summer Reading programs.  She said programs (literary, cultural and recreational) for preschool through middle school have also increased.  She said programs and activities for teens (literary, cultural and recreational) have increased dramatically.  She said school support through class visits and instruction have slightly increased.  She explained the support for early literacy through “Every Child Ready to Read” program.  She said youth outreach through community events reached 13,418 children and teens at 252 outreach events.  She explained the mobile outreach services unit (bookmobiles) events.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said the next report would be on the Reference Services Area Focus Team.

 

Kathy Lawhun, Chief of Main, introduced Mark Hall, who chaired the Reference Services Area Focus Team.

 

Mark Hall, Acting Fourth Floor Manager, said reference is changing because people are changing.  He said how people communicate is changing.

 

Kathy Lawhun, Chief of Main, said the Reference Team considered key questions that need to be addressed.

 

Mark Hall, Acting Fourth Floor Manager explained the approach to answering the key questions including surveys, reviewing available literature for best practices, synthesized information and made recommendations.  He said after staff and administration feedback and adjustment recommendations were finalized. 

 

Kathy Lawhun, Chief of Main, said the Team made recommendations relating to reference staffing and standards and reference coordination.

 

Mark Hall presented a Work Plan for 2010-11 for the Reference Team.

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said the legal minimum is 1240 branch hours under the Library Preservation Fund.  He said in 2005, citizens in a survey said they would like to see additional hours in nearby branches, not bookmobiles. He said one of the things that was supposed to be part of the performance measures was to have benchmarking and comparison with other jurisdictions.  He said regarding reference measures, the library needs to be advocates for quality.

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said he keeps hearing that maintaining library hours is a top priority.  He said for this library it is not a top priority.  He said there are five branches completely closed and only five to eight hours of bookmobile service for those branches.  He said there are rentals available for as little as $30,000 a year for interim service while the Park Branch is closed.  He said construction is a priority for this library branch hours are not.  He said he is disappointed the library does not stick to its strengths.

 

Ray Hartz, San Francisco Open Government Director, said he was a Human Resource Management Specialist in the Navy.  He said he is curious about how the questions in the surveys are worded and how they are collected.  He said he is interested in what are the limitations and problems in the adaptation of changes in technology to library employees.

 

 Commission Discussion

 

Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian responded to a question from Commissioner Kane about the survey.  She said they have broken up the responses into specific areas and they tried to break it up by the highest priorities.  She said what they are presenting at this meeting is performance measures.

 

Commissioner Kane said the Reference Report is important and the collections are sort of the guts of the library.  He asked about the computer corps and how that will work.

 

Kathy Lawhun, Chief of Main, said the computer corps will be staff members who volunteer to be trained a little more on software and will be out on the floor helping patrons with the computers.  She said we receive approximately 500 requests for information by email, about 400 through Instant Messaging, and 300+ through chat.

 

Commissioner Breyer said quality staff assistance at the branches went up but it did not go up at the Main and he wondered if we knew why that was.

 

Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said there is a 6 increase in the branches and a .4 decrease at the Main in quality of staff assistance.

 

There was a discussion about the increase in Children’s Outreach and Programming in previous years and it had to do with the introduction of “Every Child Ready to Read.”

 

Kathy Lawhun, Chief of Main, responded to Commissioner Breyer’s comments about Instant Messaging and texting and what the Library is doing to implement this.

 

President Gomez said that most new branches include a teen area.

 

Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said we are looking at expanding the teen area in the Main Library.  She said we are also looking at a smart phone application for catalog access.  She said the web hits have increased in part because we have a new website and the entire website is translated in Spanish and Chinese.  She said the library does meet the hours designated in the City Charter and the Library Preservation Fund.

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 4 LIBRARY CITIZEN’S ADVISORY COMMITTEE (LCAC) ANNUAL REPORT

 

This item was trailed by the Commission.

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 5.  LABOR UNION REPORT

 

There was no Labor Union Report at this meeting.

 

 

 

 

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 5 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES SEPTEMBER 16, 2010

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said under Item one his point was that lies and ridicule are what privatization pays for to undermine democracy.  He said the idea behind the promise of the Sunshine Ordinance to include the citizen’s comments in the minutes so that he can represent himself.  He said on page four, the reference to “questioning the future” was actually an accusation that the City Librarian was proposing a Sunshine violation and that was not reflected in the minutes.  He said on page seven where Ray Hartz quotes the Sunshine Ordinance regarding citizen summaries, neither the written comments, the extemporaneous comments, nor the fact that a summary was supplied is referenced.

 

Peter Warfield said on page one his comments regarding the Park Branch were not reflected accurately.  He said what he meant was the Park Branch’s design is what is going to diminish the Park Branch’s historic value.  He said on page four under the City Librarian’s Report his comments were not reflected accurately He said the delivery process impacts collection maintenance.  He said that needs to be corrected.

 

Ray Hartz, Director San Francisco Open Government, said he is concerned about the arrangement of the minutes.  He wondered why the comments from the public are submitted at the end of the minutes after the Commission Secretary’s signature.

 

Commission Discussion

 

Sue Blackman, Commission Secretary, said that the City Attorney has directed us to include comments submitted by the public with the minutes and that they do not have to be included in the body of the minutes.

 

Commissioner Kane said the Commission approves what our staff has prepared as the Commission Minutes.  The Commission does not approve what is submitted by the public. 

 

Commissioner Munson said we are confirming what the City Attorney has recommended to us by preparing the Minutes in this way.

 

Motion:  By Commissioner Kane, seconded by Commissioner Nguyen to approve the Minutes of September 16, 2010.  

 

Action:  AYES 4-0: (Breyer, Kane, Munson, and Nguyen).

 

 

 

 

 

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 7. ADJOURNMENT

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said generally public comment for adjournment is used when the meeting is being adjourned in honor of someone.

 

Motion:  By Commissioner Kane, seconded by Commissioner Breyer to adjourn the regular meeting of October 7, 2010.   

 

Action:  AYES 4-0: (Breyer, Kane, Munson, and Nguyen).

 

The meeting adjourned at 6:50 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 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.

Library Commission Meeting of October 7, 2010.

  

Item 1: General Public Comment

 

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

 

New commissioners assume “hate and ignorance” is exaggeration.  I consider my engagement with the San Francisco Public Library an investigation into the nature of evil.

 

You think you are “good people” and what I call “hate and ignorance” you consider the necessary barriers to others who are not you.  Exclusiveness only has value if everyone is aware of it.

 

You create barriers to process, to democracy.  Eventually you are suppressing the truth which leads to scandals and planning disasters.

 

This is the mechanism by which the poor are disenfranchised.  Gratitude to the rich for their philanthropy is overrated.

 

This country is founded on equality and respect for the individual.  People will pay money or get themselves on the Library Commission to prove that democracy is a farce.

 

We have publicly funded institutions to protect ourselves from ignorance, and from hate. 

 

Item 2: Civic Center Community Benefit District (CBD)

 

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

 

And don’t give money to this Civic Center improvement district.

 

Mr. Lombardi appeared before a supervisors’ committee and spoke of the library’s excitement and its interest in partnerships that produce synergies.  In City Hall jargon,

“excitement” means going to lunch with new people, and “partnerships” means someone else pays for lunch.

 

These are subtle terms, “stakeholders” and “ambassadors.”  You have had “ambassadors” in the past try to prevent me from coming to Library Commission meetings.  Will they be successful now that I am older and grayer?  That is what we are talking about. 

 

This is an admission of defeat.  Supervisor Elsbernd asked the salient questions.  How is this cost effective if the main stakeholders are governmental agencies?  And, why should tax dollars go to an outside organization?

 

“Ambassadors” are less accountable.  You should be accountable, as the public’s representatives.

 

Item 3: 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.

 

You made a goal of providing 1240 branch hours, without mentioning that this is the legal minimum under the Library Preservation Fund.  No one told the voters that this minimum would be ignored as part of the Branch Library Improvement Program. 

 

A part of the Library Preservation Fund was a survey of what people want. When asked in 2005, the citizens stated that they wanted additional hours in nearby branches, not bookmobiles.

 

A few years ago Supervisor Peskin asked some pointed questions about performance measures and the issue got buried. 

 

The understanding in performance measures was that there would be benchmarking and comparison with other jurisdictions so that the citizens could know how good San Francisco service was.

 

Regarding reference measures, you have to be advocates for quality.

  

Item 5: Approval of the Minutes (September 16, 2010)

 

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

 

I used to begin with: those who cannot eat or drink, salute you.

 

Regarding Item one, the point was that lies and ridicule are what privatization pays for to undermine democracy. 

 

The purpose of citizen summaries is so that a citizen can represent himself in the minutes rather than have you represent him.

 

On Page four, the reference to “questioning the future” was actually an accusation that the City Librarian was proposing a Sunshine violation. 

 

The piece de resistance is Page seven where Ray Hartz quotes the Sunshine Ordinance regarding citizen summaries.  That was only the introduction.  Mr. Hartz read written comments, then spoke extemporaneously regarding the Commission’s disrespect for minutes and quoted President Truman about, if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.  Neither the written comments, the extemporaneous comments, nor the fact that a summary was supplied is referenced here.