Minutes of the Regular Meeting of December 2, 2010


(As approved at the regularly scheduled meeting of January 6, 2011.)


The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, December 2, 2010, in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.


The meeting was called to order at 4:34 pm.


Commissioners present: Breyer, Hayon, Munson, and Ono


Commissioner excused: Nguyen


Commissioner Gomez arrived at 4:38 pm.


Commissioner Kane arrived at 4:42 pm.




An anonymous citizen said on March 5, 2009, the Friends and Foundation made a report to the Commission on their finances at the request of Commissioner Kane.  He said according to filings in the last year all expenditures from the Friends to the Library or for Library purposes went down 25%.  He said the compensation for the Executive Director went up 19% and all of the top employees of the Friends got a raise.  He said the total employee payroll for the Friends also went up.  He said the increase in their payroll was more than the total donation to the Library that year.  (See attached 150 word statement submitted by the speaker).


Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said BLIP has a quarterly report that seems never to be on the Commission agenda, but is sometimes referenced at the back of the room.  He said it is an official City Report.  He said for 10 years we have been told that the Friends will be contributing $16 million for Furniture, Fixture and Equipment.  He said with about 60% of the branches it appears that the Friends have spent approximately $1 million.  He said this raises serious questions about the Friends contributions.   


Ray Hartz, Director San Francisco Open Government said he attends other Commission meetings and he finds a similarity in that most Boards and Commissions do not fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities and their duties.  He said the financial statements of the Friends of the Library are consistently six to nine months behind in filing.  He said projects are coming in late and the Commission is not told until it is too late to do anything.  He said he is also concerned about the Community Benefit District.  He said he would like to see the Commission more active in overseeing these other bodies.




Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said she is pleased to present the report on behalf of the City Librarian.  She said the first item she will be discussing will be mid-year information about the current year budget and budget priorities from the Commission for the next Fiscal Year.


John Doidge, Chief Financial Officer, gave a brief update on this year’s budget.  He said we are favorable on our expenses and revenues.  He said the savings in the labor expenditures was due in large part to the City’s hiring freeze.  He said we have more vacant positions than we would like to have at this point.  He said the non-labor spending is likely to catch up by the end of the year.  He said budget challenges for next year include a citywide deficit of $380 million. He said revenues are expected to go up about 2% next year and labor costs are likely to go up more than 2% and there will be additional expenses with the opening of the branch libraries that are currently closed.


Jill Bourne said the FY 11-12 Budget Priorities are public service hours, collections, targeted technologies, facilities, public safety and workforce development.  She said staff would like to hear back from the Commissioners on these priorities and they will report back on January with updated information.  She said the next topic to be discussed is the Programming, Exhibitions and Outreach Area Focus Team


Alvaro Sanabria, one of the co-chairs for the Programming, Exhibitions and Outreach Area Focus Team, said areas that they focused on were communication and coordination, measurement and evaluation; and community outreach.  He said their findings and recommendations were to create programs and outreach inclusive of diverse communities; develop consistent and effective ways of measuring and analyzing programs, outreach and patron satisfaction; provide standards, training and tools for community outreach; and coordinate programs and outreach system-wide to achieve the greatest impact and efficiency.


Linda Brooks-Burton, the other co-chair of the Focus Team, said the Team recommended creating a cross divisional oversight group to collaborate and recommend system-wide initiations and priorities and a change in roles for the Diversity in Programming Team and the Ethnic Services Committee.


Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said the Library was well-represented at the California Library Association (CLA) meeting in Sacramento last month.  She said there will be a brief overview from two of the programs.


Patricia Tarin, Training Officer, said she and two of her colleagues, Brian Castagne and Jon Worona sat on a Leadership Panel at CLA and discussed Gen PL: The next generation of public library leaders.  She said there was a very receptive audience.  She said the goals of the program were to develop a pipeline of leaders in the library; encourage more collaboration across all areas of the library; increase the knowledge and expertise of potential library leaders; and to engender greater self confidence and decision making abilities. She said there has been very positive feedback on the program


Trent Garcia, Electronic Collections Librarian, said his presentation at CLA was Moving Libraries Forward.  He said other presenters were Brian Bannon and Christina Moretta.  He said the main topic was the importance of establishing an organizational structure that supports creative thinking and innovation.  He said they presented some case studies.  He said there was a lot of great questions and discussion about the issue.  


Lisa Vestal, Chief Curator, said that our upcoming exhibition San Francisco Eats will open on December 11 and will run through March 20, 2011.  She said there will be exhibits in both the Jewett and Skylight Galleries.  She said this will showcase the culinary delights that can be found in the Library’s collection dating back to the mid 19th century.  She said there will be a bibliography of selected books and materials on food, history and culture. She said there are many programs planned to accompany the exhibits.


Toni Bernardi, Manager Children and Youth Services, said there are approximately 75 programs for children and teens happening around the system in December.  She said that does not count our story times which average over 50 a week.  She said there will be programs with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music; holiday sounds with branch children’s librarians and original and classic tunes by Bonnie Lockhart.  She said there will be a lot of craft activities.  She said other programs will include a holiday game night; gingerbread cookie decorating; a dramatic reading of a Christmas Carol by British actor Martin Harris; and the Mayor’s Toy and Book Giveaway.  She said the annual holiday train will be outside of the children’s center through January 7, 2011. 


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said it would be nice if the citizens had access to the graphic display.  He said Luis Herrera presumably works for all of us and we would like to know where he is.  He said more branches will be opening in FY12.  He said at the top of the priorities is public service hours.  He said below a certain point public service hours are not at your discretion.  He said this is a condition of the Library Preservation Fund.  He said the savings because of closed branches is now going away.  He said as soon as full service hours are mandated it is going to be a different world. (See attached 150 word statement submitted by the speaker).


Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said it is troubling that if there are labor savings does that mean that there are positions which have not been filled and what does that mean to overworking current staff or under filled positions and what does that mean to public service.  He said with respect to nonlabor costs does that mean we are not purchasing the planned number of books.  He said public service hours are not a priority of the administration.


Ray Hartz, Director San Francisco Open Government, said there was nothing substantive about the presentations.  He said the Commission should be given additional details in the presentations.  He said he heard a lot of vague information about the budget.  He said on the diversity issue he would have liked to hear about where the Library has failed to meet the needs of diversity.


 Commission Discussion


Commissioner Kane said his priority is that every branch should be open seven days a week and that should be our goal. 


There was a discussion about the Library Preservation Fund (LPF) and the money drawn from the reserve for this fiscal year. 


John Doidge, Chief Financial Officer, said a portion of the savings would go back to the LPF and a portion would go back to the General Fund.


Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said the library is trying to fill every vacant position, but the reality is that they will not all be filled by the end of the fiscal year.  She said the budget is fully funded for the staffing and hours that exceed the requirements in Prop D.  


Commissioner Kane asked about the need for more diversity in our community outreach program.  He said he thinks the outreach has been outstanding.  


Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said the goal of the Programming, Exhibitions and Outreach Area Focus Team was how to better coordinate all of our programming.  She said they wanted to insure that diversity was included in all aspects of programming.


Alvaro Sanabrio said they are looking at new mapping programs using the census data.  He said there are suggestions from the community for different languages and programming.


Jill Bourne said that most of the programming budget comes from the support of the Friends on the Library.


Commissioner Ono asked about implementation and cost savings from the recommendations of the Programming, Exhibitions and Outreach Area Focus Team.


Linda Brooks Burton said that the implementation of the recommendations will begin over the next six months.


Commissioner Munson asked that the Commission receive a report from the Library on the Friends contributions to the library both for the BLIP program and for library programming.


Commissioner Hayon said she would like to receive a full report on the vacancies and where they are in the system.  She said it is important to make sure those vacancies are filled because we could face some serious issues with regard to the services we provide. 


There was a discussion about whether this year’s budget can be amended so that the savings can be spent on other library needs and the surplus would not be returned back to the reserve or the General Fund.


Commissioner Breyer said he is interested in learning more about the leadership and innovation program. 


Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, said that the Commission had been given a full presentation on the Gen PL program in the library last year but they would be happy to give an update to the Commission in the future.


Commissioner Breyer asked about the measurement of the Library’s programs.


Alvaro Sanabria said that they have a detailed breakdown of assessment of programs.  He said they track the number of people who attend the programs and have participants fill out evaluations.  He said they do other informal surveys and communications with participants.




Cathy Bremer, Chief Steward Local 1021, said they are looking forward to next year.  She said this past year has been very difficult for city workers.  She said they are working very closely with the administration in the labor management meetings on how the staffing issues will be addressed with the new branch openings.  She said they are very concerned with public service.


Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said he is gratified by the report.  He said this is closely related to the previous agenda item and that he hopes


Commissioner Kane will continue to press for answers to his questions.

(See attached 150 word statement submitted by the speaker).


Ray Hartz, Director San Francisco Open Government said this item highlights some of the issues raised in the previous item.  He said the hiring process is a complicated one so the answers to some of the questions regarding positions need to be answered soon.  He said as the new branches open it is going to take a drain on the system.  He said these are long term processes that need to be looked at now.  He said there were no specifics in the report given on the budget.


Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said the best search engine is a librarian.  He said librarians are crucial to library service for the public.  He said it is very distressing to hear that librarians are already feeling in speed up mode.  He said there have been a lot of retirements.  He said what will the experience be of new employees coming in.  He said service is being degraded by reference desks being combined with circulation desks.




Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said on page one in general public comment only the first part of his comments were reported.  He said there has been no discussion about the additional statement referencing the attached 150 word statement submitted by the speaker.   He said even the law now recognizes that incorporation by reference is not legitimate. (See attached 150 word statement submitted by the speaker).


Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said the additional language referencing the attached 150 work statement is a step in the right direction, but you have lost the meaning and have maximized the confusion and the summaries should be included as part of the minutes.  He said on agenda item number 2, page 2 his comments have an incorrect date that states the opening date is November 2011 and that should read November, 2010.  He said on page 5, third paragraph where it says the signage is abominable at the Park Branch it should include the words “for patrons about alternate service.”    


Ray Hartz, Director San Francisco Open Government, said the Minutes are now much more reflective of the comments that the speakers make.  He said the Sunshine Ordinance says the 150 word statement should be included in the minutes.  He said it is the City Attorney’s interpretation that the statements can be attached, but that is not how a judge would interpret it.  He said the question is do you do what is right or do you do what someone else tells you they interpret is right. 


President Gomez said the date on page two should be corrected.




Motion:  By Commissioner Munson, seconded by Commissioner Ono to approve the Minutes of October 21, 2010 as amended on page two to correct the date in the last paragraph from “opening date of November, 2011” to opening date of November 2010. . . .”  


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




Public Comment


An anonymous citizen said the mystery seems to be solved.  He said Ray Hartz’s comments about the complaint he filed with the Sunshine Task Force seems to have had an influence on the Secretary’s decision to add language after the comments about the 150 word summary being attached.  He said Mr. Hartz was saying in his comments that it is not wise to follow the City Attorney’s advice since there are so many complaints filed against the City Attorney. (See attached 150 word statement submitted by the speaker).


Peter Warfield, Library Users Association, said he is glad to see the references to the 150 word statement still included in the Minutes.  He said the comments by Mr. Hartz are not transcribed here in a way that makes any sense.  He said over half of the complaints he has filed against the Library and the Commission were found to be violations by the Sunshine Task Force and on all of those you received the City Attorney’s advice.  He said it would be helpful if the minutes explained the process for floating holidays under Jill Bourne’s statement on page 4. 

He said his comments on page 5 regarding some new materials being placed on a chain were not reflected accurately.    


 Motion:  By Commissioner Munson, seconded by Commissioner Ono to approve the Minutes of November 4, 2010 as amended on page three for the motion to read “approve revising the name of the Chinatown Branch Library to the Chinatown Him Mark Lai Branch Library.”


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




Public Comment


There was no public comment on this item.


Motion:  By Commissioner Munson, seconded by Commissioner Kane to adjourn the regular meeting of December 2, 2010.   


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


The meeting adjourned at 6:21 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  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 December 02, 2010.


Item 1: General Public Comment


Anonymous Citizen: Stop the Corporate Rape of the Public Library – Don’t accept money from the Friends & Foundation


Friends & Foundation reported on its finances March 5, 2009, almost 2 years ago.


Required Sunshine Ordinance filings show Friends & Foundation’s expenditure for the library’s benefit dropped 25% from $498,000 to $373,000.


State Attorney General filings show:  The compensation of the executive director went up 19% from $178,000 to $212,000.


Last year, salaries of 7 employees were $889,738.00, or average $127,105.43.


This year, salaries of 4 employees were $653,343, or average $163,335.


Total employee payroll went up 18% from $2.1 to $2.49 Million  So the increase in the payroll of $383,783, was more that the total donation to the library.


Over ten years they had total income of $31.7 Million, while donating to library $3.1 Million.


Commissioner Kane only wants reports that stimulate his vanity and cruelty.  The barriers of contempt and denial are more important that public responsibility.


The Lies Cost More than the Money.


Item 2: City Librarian’s Report


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


Wouldn’t it be nice if the citizens had access to the graphics.


Where is Mr. Herrera?  He works for us all, and I would like to know where he is. If he is out looking for a job, I sympathize.


More branches will be opening was mentioned as a budget challenge.  Public service hours are not at your discretion.  Minimum service hours were mandated as a condition of guaranteed funding, and the savings that you have been realizing from branches closed for renovation goes away. 


You may remember that the budget is balanced but at the expense of a substantial hit to the reserve so the first question should be, what is the effect on the reserve?


A report about the scope of library renovation somewhere else does not meet your needs to have library renovation here.


Item 3: Labor Union Report


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


I am gratified by that report and the fact that the Librarian’s Guild is working with the administration, and their commitment to fulfill the promises that have been made.


I think there is some acknowledgment in this presentation that things are not going back to normal and that the new economic realities will affect all of us.


This is closely related to the previous agenda item and I hope that Commissioner Kane will press for the real answer to his questions about the diversion of the Library Preservation Fund reserve.


Item 4: Approval of the Minutes (October 21, 2010)


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


The anonymous citizen comments repeat previous statements but leave out new material, such as the Ethics Commission finding actions of your president below the standard of decency, and your abandonment of social values.


Then we have the addition of “(See attached 150 word statement submitted by the speaker).”  I recognize this as an attempt to be a little bit more reasonable.  As usual you deny, deny, deny, then reason comes by spontaneous intervention.  There is no discussion, no acknowledgment, and a fait accompli is the only process you know.


Would I have recognized this as a reasonable compromise ten years ago?  In the interim, you have operated on the premise that being as irrational as possible will discourage people from a public process. Even the law now recognizes that incorporation by reference is not legitimate.


Item 5: Approval of the Minutes (November 4, 2010)


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


The mystery is solved.  This states that Ray Hartz filed a complaint for failure to include citizen summaries with the minutes.  This Library Commission has never made a movement toward reason without being forced to. 


When I started there was no public comment, no documents available, and no right to attend the meeting. Progress has been made, but not willingly on the Commission’s part.


Mr. Hartz’ statement actually was that it makes no sense to uncritically rely on the City Attorney because half the complaints at Sunshine are against the City Attorney itself.  The continuation is omitted when he went on to state that free speech includes how that free speech is treated and that it should be respected.


Lurilla Harris began her comments with the statement that she had gotten nowhere with the leaders of this building, also omitted.