SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION

 

Minutes of the Regular Meeting of November 4, 2010

 

(Approved as amended at the regular meeting of December 2, 2010)

 

The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, November 4, 2010, in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.

 

The meeting was called to order at 4:35 pm.

 

Commissioners present: Breyer, Gomez, Hayon, Munson, and Ono

 

Commissioner Nguyen arrived at 4:43 pm.

 

Commissioner Kane arrived at 4:53 pm.

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 1 PUBLIC COMMENT

 

Lurilla Harris said there should be signage on the inside of the restrooms next to the Koret because the doors open outwards to a small hallway and she has been hit by the door several times.  She said that she has asked for additional handicapped seating in the back of the auditorium. 

 

An anonymous citizen said he started attending Library Commission meetings because he was defending two young children who he had helped in the Library and they were asked by the librarian to leave because they were just playing.  He said this was a shocking level of anti-intellectualism.  He said he thought he was working toward honesty and decency in a democracy.  He said public comment exists so that the Commission cannot pretend that it does not know about what sort of hate and ignorance is necessary to maintain your position.  (See attached 150 word statement submitted by the speaker).

 

Ray Hartz, Director San Francisco Open Government said he has filed a complaint with the Sunshine Task Force because the Library did not include a 150 word summary within the body of the minutes.  He said following the City Attorney’s advice is not wise because the City Attorney has had about 50% of sunshine determinations filed against them.  He said his whole idea is free speech.  He said he read what he wrote at the meeting and that was not included.

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said the library has a lack of respect of the Sunshine Ordinance, the Brown Act and the California Public Records Act. He said there have been many, many violations.  He said he came to get a book at the library and found himself in the middle of a large event celebrating the Giants.  He said there was a sign saying that only one entrance to the library was open.  He said it is unfortunate that the Library does not promote reading on subject matters which the public is very clearly interested in.

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 2 CHINATOWN BRANCH LIBRARY NAMING

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said the Commission is being asked to take action on the naming of the Chinatown Branch Library in memory of the late historian Him Mark Lai.  He said the Commission has followed Library Commission Policy #601 and held a public meeting in the Chinatown Branch Library to obtain direct neighborhood testimony.  He said the minutes from that meeting are available in the Commission packet and at the back of the room.  He said there was also a survey on the renaming.  He said 517 responses were in support of the renaming, 79 in opposition and 57 had no opinion.

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said this is a controversy that shouldn’t be controversial at all.  He said there is a policy of not naming branches for individuals except in rare circumstances.  He said the original survey showed a divided response on the renaming and a community this divided is not grounds for naming a branch. (See attached 150 word statement submitted by the speaker).

 

Lonnie Chin, former Library Commissioner, said she was on the Commission when the Policy was originally adopted.  She said Him Mark Lai’s name will be added to name of the branch.  She said Him Mark Lai is the father of Chinese American history and studies.  She said she recommended that Him Mark Lai’s name is added to the name of the Chinatown Branch Library.

 

Ruth Ann Lumikin said she is reading a statement from Marvin Hom, Professor at San Francisco State University.  The statement told of his experience with the Chinatown Branch Library and his support for renaming the Branch to the Chinatown Him Mark Lai Branch Library. 

 

Peter Warfield said everything he has heard about Him Mark Lai sounds wonderful and interesting.  He said it appears that the honoree did some very valuable things.  He said he hasn’t really heard about the honoree’s contribution to the library.

 

Ruth Ann Lumikin said Him Mark Lai has made an enormous contribution to the library.

 

Sue Lee, Executive Director of the Chinese Historical Society of America, said Him Mark Lai did a great deal of research in Chinese newspapers.  She said there are a number of people in the audience in support of the renaming, however, they have spoken at other meetings and will not be speaking again at this meeting.  She asked those people to stand up and show their support for the renaming.

 

Vincent Pan, Executive Director of Chinese for Affirmative Action, said he wanted to add his support and urge the Commission to add the name of Him Mark Lai to the Chinatown Branch Library.

 

Commission Discussion

 

Commissioner Kane thanked the speakers for attending the meeting and expressing their support.

 

Commissioner Breyer said there has been a great outpouring of support and he appreciates the stories told about this great man.

 

Commissioner Munson said he has been impressed by the tremendous contributions by Him Mark Lai.

 

Commissioner Nguyen thanked everyone for painting such a beautiful portrait of Him Mark Lai.

 

Motion:  By Commissioner Munson, seconded by Commissioner Nguyen to approve revising the name of the Chinatown Branch Library to the Chinatown Him Mark Lai Branch Library.

 

Action:  AYES 7-0: (Breyer, Gomez, Hayon, Kane, Munson, Nguyen, and Ono).

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said they will report back to the Commission with information on the appropriate way to recognize the name at the Branch and to fully vet the cost.

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 3. CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said the Land Use and Economic Development Committee of the Board of Supervisors voted to not landmark the North Beach Branch Library and to landmark the Marina Branch Library.  He said it will go before the full Board of Supervisors next week. 

 

Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, gave a presentation on Trends in Library Use.  She showed some of the measures used for circulation of materials.  She explained patron access to collection resources and the building and maintaining of library collections.  She said print and online surveys have been compiled and improvements to the survey have been recommended for FY11.  She discussed electronic collections and patron satisfaction with library collections.  She said in the area of public technology there has been a strong effort to increase patron access to technology. She said the capacity or availability of public computer resources has been a priority. She said the laptop lending program has been very successful.  She said the Library offers public computer instruction.  She said direct services and information are provided through the Library’s website.  She said the Library provides unique services such as a children’s storyline, online homework help use, and an online citizenship toolkit.  She said upcoming topics to be presented to the Commission will be Public Safety and Security, Workforce Development and Facilities and Asset Management.

 

Luis Herrera said the next report will be on the work that has been done by the Collection Management Area Focus Team.

 

Laura Lent, the Co-Chair for the Collection Management Area Focus Team said the task was to review and assess collection management processes to improve, enhance and expedite the acquisition and access of materials to library users based on public need, best practices and services trends.  She said they conducted data and analysis; they reviewed their communication and feedback and came up with recommendations in areas that could be improved.  She said these areas included governance structure of collection management, selection process, selection to shelf time, budget allocations and tracking and patron satisfaction.

 

Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, explained the process for floating collections. She said a pilot was launched late this year and has been very successful.  She said they will continue to look at ways of improving.

 

Laura Lent said in the selection process recommendations they recommended faster, more accountable and more responsive handling of patron title suggestions and revamping the way those materials are distributed.  She said the Task Force is working on implementation of their recommendations.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said that the Parkside Branch reopening will be on November 6 and invited everyone to attend.     

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said it would be nice if the citizens had access to the graphic display.  He said he has a nice graphic presentation on library trends in comparison with other jurisdictions available on the Supervisor’s archive.  He said if he expressed his friends’ concerns he would use up all of his public comment.  He said just because bench-marking surveys say something was better than last year does not mean that expectations of professional standards are being met.  He said whether a collection is comprehensive is the question that must be asked. (See attached 150 word statement submitted by the speaker).

 

Jonathon Torzon, representing the nonprofit ISABT, said they are involved in getting textbooks and computers for Africa.  He said he would be very interested in getting some of the obsolete textbooks and other materials that are no longer being used by the Library.  He said he would like to talk with someone about that. 

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said he is disappointed by a number of things that seem to be glossed over, particularly patron services.  He said there seems to be a very long time getting new material on the shelves.  He said it would be nice to have new materials on a chain so that library users can peruse the new materials, since most of the new materials are on reserve with a long wait.  He said he has not heard anything about out of print materials.

 

Ray Hartz, Director of San Francisco Open Government, said the report is filled with a lot of technical jargon and it might be better if it is presented so that the public could understand it.  He said he would like to see more specifics about the type of collection available. 

 

 Commission Discussion

 

Laura Lent responded to a question from Commissioner Munson about the merging of the staff for children, teen and adult acquisition.  She said all of those services have been merged into the Technical Services Department.  She said there are specialists in the different areas.

 

Commissioner Hayon had questions about the selection process and how it operates

 

Laura Lent said there are committees that compile new titles and last year about 40,000 new titles were added to the collection.  She said decisions regarding the collection are being made every day.  She said the Rapid Response Committee is spending more time on reviewing books currently being read and/or talked about at various book signings, lectures, etc.  She said the library uses journals specifically put out for libraries listing upcoming titles. She said the Friends of the Library give the Library a grant in order to obtain difficult to get items.

 

Commissioner Kane said he is interested in the library evaluating best practices.  He had questions about how best practices are measured and how they are evaluated.

 

Laura Lent explained the structure set up to evaluate best practices.  She said talking to the collection managers of libraries in other large cities helped to establish best practices. 

 

There was a discussion about the optimal way of getting the books to the patrons.

 

Commissioner Kane asked about the book budget.

 

Commissioner Nguyen left the meeting at 6:15 pm.

 

Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said that the collection budget is for the materials.  She said there has been some staff savings in the merger.

 

Kathy Lawhun, Chief of Main, responded to a question from Commissioner Kane about in house use of materials.  She said there is a person who actually counts the numbers of materials left on tables during the day.

 

Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, responded to a question from President Gomez and said that the laptops are holding up very well.

 

Commissioner Ono commended the Task Force for their work on this and had questions relating to projections and the web page.

 

Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, explained how the projections are determined and she said the increase in use of the web page does have a lot to do with the new web page and how they are working to get an accurate count on that.

 

Commissioner Breyer had questions about best practices and the increase in numbers in branch use.

 

Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said the Excelsior Branch was chosen as a pilot for the laptop program because they have an extreme need for computers.  She said there are a number of factors for the increase in branch use.

 

Commissioner Hayon said she thought it would be an interesting thing to have published the top 10 materials checked out.

 

President Gomez asked about the Teen Use increases and the new Teen Centers.  She also asked about the e collection librarians.

 

Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said the new Teen Centers and programming have definitely had an impact on teen circulation.

 

Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said they would bring back an item to the Commission on the “electronic frontier”.

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 4 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OCTOBER 7, 2010

 

Public Comment

 

An anonymous citizen said on the bottom of page four the Minutes say that there were four votes for the Community Benefit District.  He said, in fact, Commission Nguyen did not vote for that item but maybe he intended his silence as acquiescence.  He said on page eight under the approval of the Minutes there was a discussion about whether the law requires summaries to be “included” in the minutes.   (See attached 150 word statement submitted by the speaker).

 

Ray Hartz, Director San Francisco Open Government, said there is nothing that precludes the Commission from being active and willing participants in open government.    He said the Commission does not have to follow the direction of the City Attorney.  He said the Commission can direct the policy for the preparation of the minutes.

 

Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said on page one under public comment his comments regarding the Park Branch signage did not include the remarks he made with respect to ongoing library programs.  He said that should be included by simply adding “and ongoing library programs.”  He said on page two under the CBD his comments did not include important points that he had made regarding the CBD.  He said on page six under City Librarian’s Report, there is a small grammatical change to his last sentence he said “construction is a priority for this library (and the word but should be added) hours are not.”

 

Motion:  By Commissioner Munson, seconded by Commissioner Hayon to approve the Minutes of October 7, 2010 as amended on page one under the  comments by Peter Warfield to add the words “He said there is appallingly bad signage at the branches that are closed with respect to notifying patrons of alternate service and ongoing library programs.”  

 

Action:  AYES 6-0: (Breyer, Gomez, Hayon, Kane, Munson, and Ono).

 

AGENDA ITEM NO. 5. ADJOURNMENT

 

Public Comment

 

Melissa Riley, Librarians Guild, said she noticed that the Labor Union Report was not on the agenda and she hoped it would appear on future agendas.

 

Motion:  By Commissioner Ono, seconded by Commissioner Munson to adjourn the regular meeting of November 4, 2010.   

 

Action:  AYES 6-0: (Breyer, Gomez, Hayon, Kane, Munson, and Ono).

 

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/librarycommission.  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: Stop the Hate, Stop the Ignorance – Don’t accept money from the Friends & Foundation

 

No commissioner has heard how my interest in the library began.

 

Since old newspapers can be such a wonderful introduction to history, one day I showed two young children how to request the newspaper of their birthday. 

 

A library employee unplugged their microfiche machine without warning, stating they were “just playing.”  The librarian told these children to leave.

 

This was a shocking level of anti-intellectualism.  I couldn’t I defend my right to be in the public library much less these kid’s.  I was befriended by Effie Lee Morris who couldn't defend her right either.

 

The rest of the story you know.

 

I thought I was working toward honesty and decency in a democracy, but there was always one more "Jewell Gomez" that needed denial and abuse.

                                                                                   

Public comment exists so you can’t pretend you don't know what maintains your positions.

 

Item 2: Chinatown Branch Library Naming

 

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

 

This should not be a controversy.  The library has a policy of not naming branches for individuals except in rare circumstances.

 

Him Mark Lai was a good man among our common men.

 

How do we analyze the measures of support given to you?  Surveys are normalized to reflect the community demographics.  Questionnaires are sampling of a location or interest.  A petition is solicited and not expected to be reflective of the community.

 

At the Chinatown Branch hearing 43% favored naming, 57% were against it or had no opinion.  Similarly, 45% thought it was in the public interest and 55% didn’t.

 

Afterward, you allowed the questionnaire to be promoted as a petition to supporters.  Unfortunately, this made it less valuable as a reflection of the opinion in the community.

 

A community this divided is not grounds for naming a branch.

 

Item 3: City Librarian’s Report

 

Anonymous Citizen:  Stop Hate & Ignorance – No money to Friends & Foundation.

 

It would be nice if the citizens had access to the graphic display.  I have a nice graphic presentation on library trends and comparison with other jurisdictions available on the Supervisor’s archive.

 

Ten friends asked me to convey their concerns and I explained that giving time to those not present would be an abuse of the deliberative process.  If I had seventy friends and we watched Lawrence of Arabia, most people would recognize that is not what public comment is for?

 

The bench-marking referred to is important because the fact that people will say something was better than last year does not mean that expectations of professional standards are being met.

 

I am shocked that you didn’t consider professional literature helpful because quality of a collection has been a professional concern.

 

Whether a collection is comprehensive is the question that must be asked.

 

Item 5: Approval of the Minutes (October 7, 2010)

 

Anonymous Citizen:  Stop the Hate, Stop the Ignorance – Don’t give money to the Friends & Foundation.

 

This is the opportunity for you to entertain yourselves.

On page four, the vote for the Community Benefit District proposal includes Commissioner Nguyen.  He did not vote for this proposal.  Maybe he intended his silence as acquiescence.  Maybe he expected that he would be reminded that abstaining is not permitted.  You are required to have a roll call vote.  Having left, perhaps he is acquiescing twice.

 

On page eight Commissioner Munson is shown as confirming the City Attorney’s recommendation.  No.  Mr. Munson said the citizen summaries are not a part of your minutes.  Most people think “not a part” means not included.  The law requires summaries be “included.”  Have we reached a stage of irrationality where “included” and “not included” are synonyms?  The law has made inclusion a matter of public policy and is required so that content-based discrimination does not happen.