Minutes of the Regular Meeting of November 1, 2007


(As approved at the regular meeting of Thursday, December 6, 2007)


Vice-President Coulter called the meeting to order at 4:35 pm


Commissioners present:  Bautista, Chin, Coulter, and Munson.


President Higueras was excused.


Commissioners Kane arrived at 4:39 pm.


Commissioners Gomez arrived at 4:40 pm.


Vice-President Coulter changed the order of the agenda requesting that Item No. 5 (Friends of the Library Report) be heard prior to Item No. 2 with the rest of the agenda items to follow.




An anonymous citizen said he has been looking at the materials supporting Prop D very carefully.  He said a vote for Prop D means that the public wants to pay for the chairs in the libraries and does not want to be grateful to any corporate sponsors or any others who make donations to the Friends and Foundation (Friends).  He said if you look back to the campaign of 1988 it is very clear that Mr. Herrera and the Friends are now running on the anonymous citizen’s vision, with just one problem, it is all lies.  He said this is a closer election than you would all like to admit.  He said the choice is between the ones who believe you on the one hand and those that recognize that almost everything is a lie. 


Ellen Egbert, Bernal Heights, said that both the Bernal Heights and the Ingleside calendars are available in the Friends’ bookstore upstairs.  She said that on Halloween this year there were over 1,000 people at the Bernal Heights library so it was a grand success.


Peter Warfield said the campaign trail for Prop D has been most interesting.  He said that it has been misleading from the beginning with the name of the proposition including the word “renewing.”  He said this is not a renewal of the Library Preservation Fund, it is a repeal two years early of the existing measure and it is a substitution with new language.  He said there have been many misrepresentations and one has been that this measure will guarantee that existing levels of service in various categories are assured.  He said that is simply not true.


Anne Wintroub, Friends of the Library, said thank you to the Commissioners and staff for the recent roll out of the expanded hours.


Cathy Bremer, said she would like to give the Labor Union Report, listed on the agenda as Item No. 9, since she had to leave the meeting early.  She said that the labor union is very excited about the upcoming election and about a new day for the library.  She also said the expanded hours process was very well implemented.




Donna Bero, Executive Director, Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, said there is a lot to be thankful for this month.  She said that the Yes on D campaign has gone spectacularly well and regardless of the outcome, it has been a magnificent effort by thousands of people and she is sure we will be celebrating next Tuesday.   She said Deborah Doyle, a member of the Friends staff has been elected to the California Library Association (CLA) Assembly, the body which sets policy for the CLA.  She said it is quite an honor and one she deserves.  She said the Richmond Branch neighborhood library campaign has gotten half way to their goal of $1 million and they are working to raise money for both the Richmond and Anza branches.   She said that the Ingleside and Bernal Heights calendars are for sale through the Friends offices in addition to the store upstairs in the Main Library.  She said Friends will be kicking off their “Works in Progress” series in November.  She said on December 6 Michael Krasny host of KQED’s Forum will be speaking at the Friends office.  She said she was happy to report that Friends had been given an award from ALTA, the Association for Library Trustees and Advocates, a Division of the American Library Association (ALA).  She said it is the 2007 Major Benefactors Honor Award in recognition of major benefaction to the bond program for the renovation to branch libraries in San Francisco.  She asked the Friends’ Board members and staff present in the audience to come forward for a photograph with the Commission.  She also thanked Commissioner Bautista for her support in obtaining this award.


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said he hoped this item was not taken out of sequence so the Friends could leave early because he wouldn’t be leaving early.  He said complaining about the Friends and Foundation is like complaining that leopards have spots.



Commission Discussion


Commissioner Bautista congratulated the Friends for their outstanding contribution.  She said as far as we know the Friends have the highest contribution to any library in the United States so we are very grateful that they are awarded this outstanding honor on a National level.


Vice President Coulter said it is wonderful working with the Friends and wanted to offer his congratulations.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian added his congratulations to the Friends as well especially to the leadership of Donna Bero and her staff




Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said he is gratified with the minutes and said they are pretty good minutes.


Peter Warfield said it is nice to have good minutes.  He said under Item No. 3 City Librarian’s Report last line on page 4 it said “He said there are still problems with cataloging.”  He said since he made specific remarks about the problems with cataloging that his remarks should have had more specificity.


Motion:  By Commissioner Chin, seconded by Commissioner Bautista to approve the minutes of the regular meeting of October 4, 2007.


Action:  AYES 6-0: (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Gomez, Kane and Munson)




Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said it is timely and appropriate to have the minutes from the preceding meeting on the agenda for approval.  He said these minutes are pretty good.  He said on the bottom of page 4 President Higueras’ comments are not represented accurately regarding the Glen Park branch.


Peter Warfield said regarding the previously adopted minutes that when he makes comments regarding something like the cataloging he has done research on that issue and would appreciate if it is recorded accurately.  He said there is a good example of clarity of minutes on his remarks on page 2 regarding approval of the minutes of September 20.


Motion:  By Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Gomez to approve the minutes of the regular meeting on October 18, 2007.


Action:  AYES 6-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Gomez, Kane and Munson).  




Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said that he would like to begin the report with an update on Supporting Successful Teens.


Toni Bernardi, Chief Office of Children and Youth Services, introduced Jennifer Collins, who manages our operations and programs that directly serve our young people from the ages of 13-18.  She said there is some overlap with the project with the school district, but this report is broader in scope.


Jennifer Collins, Teen Services Specialist, gave an update on the Supporting Successful Teens Program.  She said an additional $400,000  has been provided for books for the program.  She said that the types of books include books for tweens, test preparation, school assigned classics, biographies, graphic novels and Chinese and Spanish language enhancements.  She explained staff training and programs for teens.


Harry Jackson, a member of the Main Library Teen Council, said that the Council gives opinions and ideas as to how to improve the libraries for teens.  He said he would like to see more funding for teen programs and he said libraries are good.


Jennifer Collins, said the Teen Council has been visiting renovated libraries and evaluating the teen spaces in those branches.  She said they provide SAT prep workshops, print booklists, partner and collaborate with different organizations, and provide class visits and receive feedback and evaluations from those school visits.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, announced that Kathy Lawhun, Chief of Main, was recently appointed to a national council called the Depository Library Council, sponsored by the United States Government Printing Office.  This Council provides advice and input in terms of U.S. Government publications throughout 1200 libraries throughout the country.  He also wanted to congratulate Kathy on this appointment.


Kathy Lawhun, Chief of Main, gave an update on her first visit to Washington, D.C. in this role.  She said she was appointed as a representative from the Public Library Association, which is part of the American Library Association.  She said she was very happy to be appointed because they had not had a public librarian or a Californian on the Council for a number of years.  She said the San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) has been a Depository since 1889.  She said she started her career with SFPL 25 years ago as a Documents Librarian.  She said one of the things the Council is grappling with is the paperless society and how to make electronic versions of documents available to the public.  She said she looks forward to the next three years of participating on the Council.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said that on Saturday, October 13, there was a training session for volunteers to learn how to collect photographs and material for  Shades LGBTQI.  On Sunday October 14, at the Eureka Valley branch 28 volunteers assisted over 55 donors with the program.  He said the San Francisco Chronicle had two great articles about the program.


Marcia Schneider, Chief of Communications, Collections and Adult Services, gave the highlights on programs and events for November.  She explained two upcoming exhibitions; Who We Are:  Essays and Photographs by Students at San Quentin State Prison, November 10 – January 20, 2008; and Hand Bookbinders of California: 35th Anniversary Exhibition. November 1 – December 31, 2007.  She said literary programs include Gail Tsukiyama, Greg Mortensen, Al Young and Sonia Nazario.  She said upcoming programs include ITVS Community Cinema:  An Unreasonable Man and the 19th annual Unsung Hero Awards.  She also said that the One City One Book program with Lalita Tademy was very successful and reminded everyone it is not too late to read the book.


Public Comment            


An anonymous citizen said it is important to identify donors to the Friends and Foundation, but anonymity in a private citizen speaking before the Commission should be respected.  He said he was disappointed that there was not a report on the implementation of Sunday hours, but you can’t really call them Sunday hours.  He said he loved the graphics on the presentation and wouldn’t it be nice if members of the public had the same opportunity for presentations.


Bradford Jackson said he lives really close to the library and likes to come and take advantage of the resources the library has available for teens.  He said he likes to go to the teen center and participate in the teen programs.  He said he would like to see an expanded teen center where more teens can come and hang out.


Sandra Chin said she has been a patron of the library since she was 3 or 4.  She would go to the Mission branch with her mother every week.  When she became a teenager she said she was very disappointed in the area allotted for the teen section.  She said the Children’s section is very large and funding is important for teen sections.  She said programming and events are very important for teens and she would like to see better advertising of these programs and events to encourage more teens to attend.


Peter Warfield said these reports are interesting and he wishes that they were on the agenda as separate items to allow for more public comment.  He said it was good to hear the Teen Librarian say that books are for enjoyment.  He said he did miss on the lists for teens a mention of the classics or nonfiction.   He said the report on the Depository Advisory Council was very interesting and the grappling with the paperless society was very interesting.  He said there are some serious issues with the archival nature of some electronic formats.   He was glad to hear about the highlights for November programming and that it includes lots of book programs and for that he is very glad.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Gomez said congratulations to the teen staff person and that it was great to hear the report.  She said she was happy to hear about Lalita Tademy and the One City One Book program.


Commissioner Bautista said it would be nice to hear more from the teens on other programs that they would like to see.  She said it would be nice to add space to the teen sections and it would be nice to expand the different languages offered in the teen sections.


Commissioner Chin asked the teens several questions about what they thought would improve the teen sections.


Bradford Jackson said it is a good place to meet new people, read books together, and find out about other people’s schools.  He said a bigger area with more books and better selection. 


Sandra Chin said technology does have an effect on teens reading but the most important part is expanding the selection, and adding more graphic novels, etc.  She said getting more information out to the schools would certainly help promote the summer reading program and other programs.




Marcia Popper, Presidio Branch representative to CNL gave an update on CNL activities.  She said CNL was involved with the Glen Park branch opening.  She said CNL has been involved with developing the attractive three fold brochures for each of the new or renovated branches, which gives information to the communities about the individual branches.  She said CNL participated in the celebration for the expanded hours which has been enthusiastically welcomed by the community.  She said CNL is staying actively involved in each new BLIP project in various ways.  She said each CNL member within their own communities help to communicate library issues.  She said each member also uses their community contacts to provide input to the library staff and administration.  She said Deborah Doyle is a member of CNL and they are proud of her election to the California Library Assembly.  She said Miriam Pavis, a long time CNL member was one of last year’s Unsung Heroes.  She said something that the CNL has learned at this meeting is that they should be working with the Teen Council as well.


Public Comment


Peter Warfield said the report was very interesting and he hopes that the CNL appreciates the role that other members of the public had in urging the library to add more hours especially on Sundays.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Bautista said the Commission appreciates CNL’s work.


Vice-President Coulter said CNL is an important part of the library family and the Commission appreciates all the work that the members put in.




Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said that SFPL was one of the first to have one of these types of programs and they are now considered an integral part of library services in California’s libraries.


Kathy Lawhun, Chief of Main, said that Randy Weaver, who manages the program, was appointed President of the Literacy Services Section of the California Library Association (CLA) at their conference this weekend.  She said Brian Castagne, one of the staff members of Project Read, also presented a program about their computer lab at the conference.  She said she heard several people say how helpful the program was.  She said Randy and Brian also presented another program about blogging for tutors to share their ideas.


Randy Weaver said Project Read’s Mission is to provide basic instruction in reading and writing, enabling adults to access greater opportunities in their lives.  He gave a brief history of the program and explained the community need for the program.  He talked about the importance of community partners and listed many of partners involved with the program.   He said that Project Read provides an environment for learning.  He reported on the community support for the program and said that volunteers contributed 11,231 hours to help adult learners reach their personal goals.  He said based on the U.S. Department of Labor’s value of one hour of volunteer time at $18.77, that means the donated time of volunteers was worth over $210,000.   He explained the general goals of participants and those who met the goals they had set.  He also read some quotes from people who had participated in the program expressing their gratitude and sharing thoughts on how the program had affected their lives.


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said this is a wonderful program.  He said this program did not originate with universal acclaim.  He said the original program taught the tutors only because it is hard to get people to admit that they cannot read.  He said the program has evolved overtime.  He said nobody thought at that time that illiteracy in our society would be an even greater problem now than it was then. 


Ellen Egbert, Bernal Heights, said that the tutors try to let the learners direct their learning.  She said her learner last week wanted to read the voters pamphlet.  She said she sat down with her learner to read the Ballot Simplification Committee’s Digest words that were used included

simple majority, regulations, requirements, donations, etc., she said she was so proud that her learner breezed through it.


Peter Warfield said it was certainly an education and interesting report.   He said it can be rewarding and educational to those who are doing the teaching as well as the learning.  He said he would be interested to see more exact statistics about the measurement of accomplishments or skills.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Bautista said she attended the graduation last year and she was so impressed by the quality and dedication of the people involved with Project Read.


Vice President Coulter said that he has always admired Project Read and that he has attended a number of the graduation ceremonies.  He said two things impressed him at the meeting today, one was that there are only 45,000 teenagers in San Francisco, which seemed low to him, and   that there are 90,000 people with low literacy.  He thanked staff for their work and said Project Read is an excellent program.


Commissioner Kane left the meeting at 6:20 pm.




Kathy Lawhun said that the Chinese Center is part of the International Center on the third floor of the Main Library.  She said Doris Tseng has been the librarian since the opening of the Main library.  She said one of her strengths is outreach and that resulted in her being able to attend the Beijing Book Fair in August.  She said a former cultural consul of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco who now works at the Ministry of Culture in Beijing helped Doris arrange her trip.  Doris bought books for the whole library system.  She said the library is sending other Chinese librarians to the Hong Kong and Taipei Book Fairs this year.


Vice-President Coulter left the meeting at 6:25 pm. Commissioner Chin took over as Chair of the meeting.                           


Doris Tseng showed photographs of the Chinese Center on the Third Floor Main Library.  She said the Chinese Center provides a window into Chinese culture.  She said in 1996 the Chinese Community donated $500,000 to build this center.  She said the collection includes reference books in English and Chinese.  She said the Center is well-used by the general public, college students, school teachers and researchers.  She said the center has many programs and exhibitions.  She said the Center offers computer classes in Chinese.  She told about the community outreach for the Center and mentioned several upcoming programs for next year.  She said goals for the Center are to expand the collection, update the brochure and do more outreach.  She showed a 2-minute YouTube Video.  She thanked Richard Le from Project Read for producing the video.


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said this was a very nice report and nice graphics and wouldn’t it be wonderful if private citizens had the same access to electronic presentations.  He said the reason for the gift from the Shanghai Library is that San Francisco has a Sister City Relationship with Shanghai.  He said a major part of that relationship was the exchanging of books and cultural materials with Shanghai.


Peter Warfield said it was a most interesting report and he appreciates it being a separate agenda item.  He said that the best search engine is a librarian and there is hardly a time when he speaks with a librarian that he does not learn something new and/or useful.  He said from what he saw on the YouTube Video he did not see any people or staff so for the next version of the video it might be nice to show people using the Center.   


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Bautista said it was an excellent report.


Commissioner Chin said she is aware that there is so much material available and she wishes the staff well on continuing to expand the collection.




The labor union report was given under public comment.




Commissioner Chin said that because the Commission was about to lose a quorum New Business would be continued to the next meeting.




Public Comment


There was no public comment on this item.


MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Gomez, to adjourn the regular meeting of Thursday, November 1, 2007


ACTION:  AYES: 4-0  (Bautista, Chin, Gomez, and Munson).


The regular meeting of November 1, 2007, of the San Francisco Public Library Commission adjourned at 6:38 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).