Minutes of the Regular Meeting of November 15, 2007


(As amended and approved at the regular meeting on December 6, 2007)


The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, November 15, 2007, in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.


Vice President Coulter called the meeting to order at 4:34 pm


Commissioners present:  Bautista, Coulter, Kane and Munson.


President Higueras and Commissioner Gomez were excused.


Commissioner Chin arrived at 4:46 pm




An anonymous citizen said he wanted to congratulate the Commission on the passage of Prop. D.  He said he had predicted that it would be shockingly close and in fact it was shockingly lopsided.  He said the campaign was carried by a committee that was heavily financed.  He said the Friends and Foundation spent something like $5.66 per vote and that is a substantial expenditure.  He said the brochures were all about more services for people, more books and more hours and not a whisper about privatization.  He said the only issue left is that of corruption.


Marian Chatfield-Taylor from Friends of the San Francisco Public Library said congratulations was due to all on the passage of Prop D.  She said she checked the vote count before she came to the meeting and it was at 74.7%, which makes her very proud and pleased.  She said Prop D got more votes than any other proposition on the ballot.


Mona Zhao said she grew up going to the library from the age of 7 for school related needs and to obtain knowledge.  She said she noticed that many branches are being renovated, which is great, but she said that the teen services and materials are still inadequate.


Jennifer Zhang said she has been very active with Teen Scene and the library and said there is a limited amount of space for teens.  She said she is a senior in high school and will be off to college next year so she hopes that more teenagers will get involved with Teen Scene and join the Teen Advisory Council.


Kristen Fong said she believes the Library needs more funding for teenagers.  She said there are not enough books, computers and resources to cater to the many teens who visit the library.  She said there are not enough resources such as personal homework tutors and many teens resort to the streets instead of the library.  She said the library should have more money available for teen services and collections.


Mona Zhao said availability for the existing resources is sometimes low because some materials are vandalized and damaged.  She said she has favorite Chinese authors whose books are not available and additional funding would make a big impact on people’s lives.


Jennifer Zhang said she uses a lot of resources from the library and said it is easy to reserve books, but when there are long reading lists the reserve list is very long as well, so that makes it difficult for students.


Kristen Fong said she would like to see more computers in the branch libraries.  She said at the Chinatown branch there are only two computers and she said sometimes she just gives up at the library and goes to an internet café.  


Mona Zhao said that she thinks the teen spaces are small and that they should be limited to teens only since many adults use that space.


Commissioner Chin entered the meeting.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian said that the library has increased funding for teen services the last couple of years.  He said he welcomes feedback from the teens and he is concerned about the perception that we don’t have enough resources and materials for teens so he said he will definitely look into it.


Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian said that there is a procedure for certain areas where there are signs on the tables that say this section is primarily for teens.  She said the Branch Library Improvement Program is trying to address the need for additional teen space.


Peter Warfield said thank you to the teens who just spoke.  He said this library is one of the richest in its category of service.  He said it is the third library in rank for spending per capita among libraries serving 500,000 or more.   He said the teen materials ought to have ample funding.  He said the passing of Prop D will allow all of the growth in funds to the library to be used for bond repayment if the Library Commission, Board of Supervisors and Mayor were to approve it.  He said the Prop D campaign was a campaign of ferocious misrepresentation that avoided the very radical changes that are being made to the Library Preservation Fund.  He said the campaign in support of Prop D spent more money than was spent on any other measure pro or con as of the required reporting date of October 20, 2007.





Marilyn Thompson, Bond Program Manager, said that there were no informational or special reports.  She gave the regular monthly reports which include the budget, schedule, active projects, construction and community outreach.  She said the Budget Report includes the Baseline Budget, which is the budget the Commission approved in October, 2001 and the budget approved in June, 2007.  She said the schedule report is a summary level report that is broken down by project in alphabetical order and that she had added a red horizontal line to show the current date.  She said the active projects are in color and the completed projects are not.  She said each project has the original schedule, the last approved schedule and the forecast.  She said the budget information is also included in the report.   She said fully funded projects will be completed by the year 2010 and the remaining projects will be completed by the year 2011 pending additional funding.  She gave the Active Projects Report including information on new construction and renovations; and the Construction Report.  She showed photographs of Noe Valley, Western Addition and Portola which are currently in construction.  She gave the Community Outreach report and said there would be a Community meeting at the Parkside Branch on December 15 at 2:00 pm. 


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said the addition of the red line on the schedule report was very helpful.


Peter Warfield said he was interested in the metal shelving with some ends made of wood in some cases replacing wooden shelving and he was wondering how that decision was made regarding the furniture.  He asked if the shelving was funded by the library or if that portion is funded by the Friends.  He said in our homes we usually use nice furniture to hold our books.  He said metal shelving at home would usually be used for tools in a garage.


Melissa Riley, West Portal Branch, said she had forwarded an article about sustainable building of libraries and she said this would be applicable to the projects the library currently has in process. 


Commission Discussion


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said that determining the type of shelving includes seismic safety issues, costs, and architectural integrity.


Brian Bannon, Chief of Branches, said that metal shelving is an industry standard for libraries.  He said perimeter shelving is maintained when it is a historic feature.  He said metal shelving allows much more flexibility so that you can change the heights.  He confirmed that the library staff determines what types of fixtures are needed for the branches and that  the Friends pay for them.


Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said the library is concerned about sustainability and green buildings.  She said the library has been meeting with DPW and the Bureau of Architecture to determine how to achieve sustainability through the remainder of the Branch Library Improvement Program.


Commissioner Kane said he appreciated the improved forms and reports.  He had several questions regarding the schedule.


Marilyn Thompson said the Quarterly report was through September.  She said the Forecast Schedule is not one approved by the Commission but is forecasted by the staff.


Commissioner Kane said in the future if there is a change of more than three months in the forecast schedule he would like to see why there is a change and what is causing the delay.  He specifically asked about the bids on the Potrero branch.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said that the Potrero branch will be at least a four month delay because it will need to go out for rebid.  He said he agreed with Commissioner Kane that when there is more than a three month delay there should be a separate report on the reason for the delay in the forecast schedule. 


Commissioner Kane asked about the effect of schedule delays on the budget and would like a report back on that as well.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian said there will be an increase to the budget on the Potrero branch and when the amount is determined this will be brought back to the Commission for action.  He said the Noe Valley branch will be opening approximately March, 2008.  He said the Bayview branch will come back to the Commission for a full discussion.


Commissioner Munson said he supports Commissioner Kane’s request for more information. 


Luis Herrera, City Librarian, said in March the Commission increased funding for several projects pending strategies that we had adopted for that additional funding.  He said the pending strategies are more real by virtue on the passage of Prop D. 


Commissioner Bautista suggested that all of the projects that are already completed should be on a different page on the report. 


Vice President Coulter asked if part of the problem with the Potrero branch bids was with the subcontractors.  He asked if outreach was being done to subcontractors as well.


Marilyn Thompson said this is a citywide problem with bidders on projects.  She said the lower number of bids there are usually the higher the amount of the bids.  She said there is outreach being done to both subcontractors and general subcontractors.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian said the communication and dialogue with the Department of Public Works (DPW) continues and has improved.




Luis Herrera, City Librarian, outlined the recommended action to Commission regarding the BLIP budget review.


Marilyn Thompson said this is to approve the transfer of funds from the General Fund to the BLIP Reserve and to transfer surplus funds from completed projects to Ingleside and Western Addition projects.  


Public Comment           


An anonymous citizen said the discussion on the previous item along with this item has been one of the most interesting and candid discussions by the Commission in a very long time.  He said the issue of having a forecast schedule different from the approved schedule continues to be a problem.  He said the ambiguity of the expenditures themselves becomes very dramatic.  He said the $2M being transferred from the General Fund are really Library Preservation Funds.  He said how you summarize all of this gets a little complicated.  He asked with this transfer where does that leave the Library’s regular budget reserve.


Peter Warfield said thank you to the Commissioners for their previous discussion on the Bond Manager’s report.  He said that it appears that $1M of the $2M fund will be transferred to a program reserve for shelving.  He said there appears to have been an increase in the so-called furniture reserve from $15M to $16M in June, 2007.  So he said it seems there already is a $16M furniture reserve and he is at a loss as to what that is for.  He said his understanding was that the Friends would be paying for those items so he asked if those funds were there in case the Friends had problems with their funding.


Commission Discussion


Commissioner Kane requested confirmation that this $2M had already been budgeted and that no services would be taken away by this.


Luis Herrera, City Librarian said this has been approved through the budget process by the Commission and the Board of Supervisors.  He said that the $16M commitment from the Friends is still there and that this money for furniture and equipment is for shelving costs.  He said shelving costs have increased as part of construction and the library wants to make sure we are covered.  If the entire amount is not used, funds will be brought back to the General Reserve.


Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian responded to a question from Commissioner Bautista and said the Friends pay for ergonomic furniture for staff and the furniture for the public.


Motion:  By Commissioner Munson, seconded by Commissioner Chin to approve the action recommended by the City Librarian to:  1) Transfer $2M from the General Fund portion of the Library Preservations Fund to the BLIP as approved in the FY 2007/2008 budget.  Of this amount $1M is designated for shelving costs reserve; 2) Transfer surplus funds from completed projects to specified active projects returning the remainder of the BLIP as follows:  a) Excelsior, $61,207; b) Mission Bay, $149,195; c) Support Services, $78,764 for a total of $289,166; 3) Increase the Ingleside project budget by $53,000; 4) Increase the Western Addition project budget by $73,000; and 5) Increase the Program Reserve by an additional $163,166.   This action will increase the BLIP reserve by $1,163,166 bringing the reserve total to $3,190,484. 


Action:  AYES 5-0: (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Kane, and Munson)




There was no new business.




MOTION: by Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Munson, to adjourn the regular meeting of Thursday, November 15, 2007. 


Public Comment


There was no public comment on this item.


ACTION:  AYES: 5-0.  (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Kane and Munson).


The regular meeting of November 15, 2007, of the San Francisco Public Library Commission adjourned at 5:46 pm


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).