Draft Minutes of the regular meeting of Thursday, December 15, 2005.

The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, December 15, 2005 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.


The meeting was called to order by Vice President Coulter at 4:07 pm.


Commissioners present:  Bautista, Coulter, Gomez, Kane, and Strobin.

 A quorum was present. President Higueras was excused attendance. Commissioner Chin arrival at the meeting was delayed.




An anonymous member of the public spoke about: their opposition to the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library; and discussed the disposition of a lawsuit they had filed  against Library.


Ms. Ellen Egbert, a Bernal Heights Branch Library representative on the Council of Neighborhood Libraries (CNL) and a Bernal Heights resident, welcomed Commissioner Gomez as the Library Commission’s liaison to the Council of Neighborhood Libraries. Ms. Egbert then spoke in support of the renovation of the Branch Library discussing recent events that led to the Board of Supervisors adoption of a resolution by Supervisor Ammiano calling for the return of the Preschool to the renovated facility.


Ms. Katie Gough, a Bernal Heights resident and branch library user, spoke in support of the planned renovation of the branch facility as a library, noting the small size of the building and the high demand for services.  Ms. Gough criticized the Board of Supervisors Resolution on the Bernal Heights Branch Library and the City College preschool as based on misinformation. Ms. Gough noted that despite the presence of representatives of the Community supporting the renovation of the Branch Library, no public comment was allowed. Ms. Gough reported that this renovation as a Branch Library was important to hundreds of teen and child users in the neighborhood and that there had been an orchestrated campaign to misrepresent the community’s views.


Ms. Laverne Fisher, a 25 year Bernal Heights resident, decried as sabotage of the renovation of the Branch Library in an effort to promote the Preschool. Ms. Fisher noted that the neighborhood teens and children needed the Library, especially as many schools no longer had libraries. Ms. Fisher noted that the Branch Library served all of the teens and children in the community, and urged the Commissioners to continue with the renovation as planned.


Mr. John McAfee, Friends of the Library, spoke concerning: the Friends working with Noe Valley Branch Library neighbors to develop a strategy to obtain additional funding for the Branch Library’s renovation beyond the Friends substantial commitment to fund the furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E) not covered by bond funds for the renovated Branch Library.

Ms. Roseanne Liggett, a Bernal Heights resident, spoke in support of the renovation of the Branch Library as a library, and expressed anger and opposition to the Board of Supervisors’ Resolution on the Branch Library, Ms. Liggett thanked the Commissioners for supporting the renovation of the Branch Library, and suggested that the proposed January 11th Community meeting on the revised renovation plan would be critical. Ms. Liggett decried the division in the community, and asked what City College was doing to take care of the needs of its Preschool program. Ms. Liggett said that the Community needed to say no to the return of the Preschool to the Library. Ms. Liggett concluded by thanking City Librarian Herrera for his letter to the Community on this issue.  


Mr. Peter Warfield commented on: RFID related Library holdings; and recommended a book on the subject.


Commissioner Chin joined the meeting at 4:12PM. Vice President Coulter requested that the comments made by members of the public who spoke concerning the situation at the Bernal Heights Branch Library be reported in detail in the Minutes and expressed his thanks for their continuing to participate in support of their neighborhood branch library.  







An anonymous member of the public spoke about: their opposition to the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library; noted that their previous recitations of their history did not constitute opposition to the Library; and that Ms. Fung’s comments were inaccurately reported.


Mr. Peter Warfield spoke about: misrepresentation in the report of the anonymous member of the public comment; inaccuracies in the report of his concerns with the self-service reserves; and lack of report of his comments on the importance of documentation of design changes in BLIP projects.


Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #2 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF NOVEMBER 17, 2005


The Commissioners acted to amend the Minutes to reflect the anonymous member of the public’s statement that their history was of involvement with rather than opposition to the Library and to note that President Higueras had offered to meet with Ms. Fung.


MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, 2nd Commissioner Gomez for approval of the Minutes of the regular Public Library Commission meeting of November 17, 2005 as amended.


ACTION: 6-0 AYE (Bautista. Chin, Coulter, Gomez, Kane, and Strobin)






Marilyn Thompson, Branch Library Improvement Program Manager represented her usual monthly reports on: the BLIP Schedule; the current Budget; and new and renovation projects Construction Reports, (copies attached). Ms. Thompson reported expenditure or encumbrance of $38,704,126 of the Bond Program Funds to date.


Ms. Thompson noted that no informational report would be presented at this meeting, but that there would be a special report on the Noe Valley-Sally Brunn Branch Library Renovation Project. Ms. Thompson updated the Commissioners concerning each of the current Branch Library Improvement Program’s active projects: new construction; renovations; presented detail of ongoing construction, and discussed recent and upcoming BLIP community outreach activities, (copy attached).


The BLIP Manager then presented a special report (copy attached) updating the Commissioners’ concerning developments in the Noe Valley Branch Library Renovation Project following the receipt of construction bids to complete this renovation as planned that were greater than had been estimated. Ms. Thompson discussed the background of this historic 1916 Carnegie neighborhood branch library and the difficult challenges posed by this historic un-reinforced masonry building (UMB) renovation project. The BLIP Manager discussed the project history noting the addition of funds to this project, as well as efforts made to track this project’s costs and gather estimates prior to a revised design going out to bid.  Ms. Thompson noted that all of the bids received were $950,000 over the previous project costs estimates. Ms Thompson noted that these bids fell within 2% of each other indicating to the BLIP Manager that they probably represented the true current cost to do the project as designed. Ms. Thompson then discussed options available to the Commission to address this situation.




An anonymous member of the public commented: that the available explanatory documents were not listed on the agenda; about lack of information about the redesign in the architect’s letter; and about previous neighborhood residents’ complaints about this project in May.


Ms. Joan Jackson, Council of Neighborhood Libraries Representative for the Noe Valley Branch Library, commented: expressing disappointment with the proposed project re-designs and noting that the community supported the project design as previously approved. Ms. Jackson observed that the historic Branch Library building was safety rated a SR 4 (high seismic risk) structure and that there should be no further delay in its being renovated. Ms. Jackson noted additional delays would certainly lead to increased costs and expressed optimism that creative ways could be found to find additional funds necessary to complete the renovation as previously planned.


Mr. Peter Warfield commented: on the slow progress since Prop A’s (Branch Library Improvement Bond 2000) adoption, dismay  at additional delay on this project;  about the need to study any proposed revised design; that the Friends could provide the needed additional $1 million for Noe Valley from available funds; and that the Board of Supervisor’s Resolution (on the Bernal Heights Branch Library renovation project) had called for a review of the entire Branch Library Improvement Program.


Ms. Ellen Egbert, Council of Neighborhood Libraries, commented: that the Noe Valley Branch Library was beautiful but difficult to access by those with disabilities, noting funds expended to make libraries accessible was money well spent, and urged the Commissioners to consider the needs of the remaining projects when considering options for this one. Ms. Egbert noted that the Board of Supervisor’s Resolution (on the Bernal Heights Branch Library renovation project) has been qualified by being amended inserting the qualifying word “potential” when describing their desired outcome for the renovation project.


                  Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #4 BLIP MANAGER’S REPORT


In answer to questions by Commissioner Bautista, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) revised disabled access plans proposed were discussed in more detail.


Commissioner Kane inquired about and was informed concerning the standard 15% change orders contingency set aside. Commissioner Kane followed up asking about the likelihood of additional project costs increases in the future and about options available to complete this renovation as previously planned. Commissioner Kane noted that it was very important to the neighborhood that this project be done correctly.


The City Librarian responded to Commissioners’ questions and comments by noting that various options including seeking a “hardship” exemption as is allowed for historic buildings from some code requirements as well as seeking a combination of additional funding that might be tapped to fund the renovation. The City Librarian reported that neighborhood leaders had been informed of this situation and that discussions about possible solutions were planned with them and with Supervisor Dufty.


 Commissioner Chin cautioned that the needs of the remaining bond funded renovation projects needed to be kept in mind when considering what to do in this situation.


Commissioner Gomez expressed discomfort with the redesigned disabled access as presented and suggested that the Commissioners contribute to the “brainstorming” necessary to find additional funding needed for this project.


Vice President Coulter expressed dismay at the increased costs and noted that the additional $1 million could be difficult to raise. The Commission Vice President observed that it was necessary for the Bond Program reduce expectations and noted that could lead to reduce enthusiasm and a lot of problems generating support for future project. Vice President Coulter observed that a serious discussion with the Friends about this situation might be necessary. Vice President Coulter asked that Ms. Thompson to bring back recommendations for a solution for Commission review at an upcoming meeting.


The City Librarian reported that the Library proposed to continue to go forward with the planned renovation of the Bernal Heights Branch Library. Deputy City Attorney Catharine Barnes noted that the Board of Supervisors Resolution on the Bernal Heights Branch Library was non-binding. Ms. Barnes reported that should a City Attorney’s opinion on this Resolution be requested, a public response could be available prior to the planned January 11th neighborhood meeting.


Commissioner Gomez urged that City College be brought more visibly into the se discussion, noting that the Commission was ready to make a decision. In response the City Librarian reported that the City College Chancellor Dr. Day supported relocation of the Preschool to the Paul revere School site.


Commissioner Chin suggested creation of a chart outlining how funding was allocated by the Bond Program among the different neighborhoods.


Commissioner Gomez thanked Ms. Thompson for her leadership and dedicated work on the Branch Library Improvement Program.




MOTION: by Commissioner Chin, 2nd Commissioner Kane to adjourn the regular December 15, 2005 Public Library Commission meeting.


Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #4 ADJOURNMENT


An anonymous member of the public spoke about: what they thought to be a tacit understanding concerning public comment opportunities; and about increased funds going into the “public comment” fund.


Commissioner Bautista left the meeting at 5:56PM.


ACTION: AYE 5-0 (Chin, Coulter, Gomez, Kane, and Strobin)


The Commission meeting adjourned at 5:57PM.


Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 12/30/05


Please note: These are draft Minutes subject to revision by the Public Library Commission. Copies of Commission Minutes and handouts are available in the Office of the Commission Secretary, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102


Explanatory documents: Copies of listed explanatory documents are available as follows: (1) from the Commission Secretary/Custodian of Records, Main Library, 6th Floor, (2) in the rear of the Koret Auditorium immediately before and during the meeting, and (3)to the extent possible, on the Library's website at

Additional materials not listed as explanatory documents on this agenda, if any, that are distributed to the 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 §§ 67.9, 67.28(b)& 67.28(d).




BLIP Program Manager’s Report slides

BLIP Program Budget, Schedule, and Construction Reports

Tabulation of Bids – Presidio and Noe Valley Branch Libraries (12/7/05)

Board of Supervisors Resolution 05 1928 [Bernal Heights Preschool]

City Librarian and Director of the Department of Children, Youth and Their Families open letter to the Bernal Heights Community

Bernal Heights Branch Library renovation - Frequently Asked Questions


















            Minutes of the Library Commission Meeting December 15, 2005

                                          Appendix A


The Public Comment Summary Statements included in these Minutes are authorized by San Francisco Administrative Code Section 67.16.


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.