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Library Commission Minutes - February 3, 2005

SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION Minutes of the regular meeting of Thursday, February 3, 2005. (As approved March 17, 2005) The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, February 3, 2005 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library. The meeting was called to order by President Higueras at 4:05pm. The following members were present: President Higueras, Vice President Steiman, Commissioners Bautista, and Coulter. Commissioner Chin’s arrival was expected and Commissioner Strobin was reported excused. President Higueras announced that he proposed to reorder the taking of agenda items moving Item #3, the Eureka Valley- Harvey Milk Memorial Branch, to follow Public Comment. Agenda Items: * 1) Public Comment * 4) Eureka Valley-Harvey Milk Memorial Branch * 5) 2005-06 Budget Update * 2) Approval of the Minutes December 16, 2004 * 3) Approval of the Minutes January 6, 2005 * 6) City Librarian's Report * 7) Friends of the Library Report * 8) Labor Union Report * 9) New Business * 10) Adjournment * APPENDIX A AGENDA ITEM #1 PUBLIC COMMENT The anonymous member of the public commented on their history of attending Public Library Commission meetings since 1975 noting that they believed they had only missed four meetings during that period. This person indicated that the Commission had slowly become more open and democratic since they began attending meetings confirming their belief that a dedicated individual can change the course of institutions. Mr. Louis Calabro, European/American Issues Forum, criticized the Library's “Choosing to Participate” Exhibit as not balanced, offering a limited viewpoint that unfairly promoted negative views of European Americans. Mr. Calabro then called attention to the “Zebra” murders which he described as one of the worst racist hate crimes in the 20th Century. Mr. Emil De Guzman, representing Filipino-American Community organizations, urged the Library Commissioners to allow the safe and affordable Bernal Heights State preschool for low income families to retain its dedicated space in the Branch Library after its renovation. Mr. Peter Warfield lauded the anonymous member of the public’s 30 years of attending Library Commission meetings and commented on what he described as general issues of concern to him such as: the Library's continuing response to the Main Library Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) Report; large numbers of unshelved books on shelving carts in the Main Library; and ongoing online catalog problems. Ms. Ellen Egbert, Bernal Heights Branch Library representative on the Council for Neighborhood Libraries (CNL) and a longtime neighborhood resident, called attention to the importance of the Branch Library to all of the neighborhood children and teens and urged that the Commission not pass up the opportunity afforded by the Branch Library Improvement Program (BLIP) to renovate the branch to serve the entire community as well as assist the preschool to find a permanent new home of its own in the neighborhood. AGENDA ITEM #4 EUREKA VALLEY-HARVEY MILK MEMORIAL BRANCH (Continued from the January 20, 2005 Regular meeting for additional public comment and Commission action) Acting City Librarian Paul Underwood gave the Commissioners a brief overview and recap of the presentation made on January 20th outlining the Commission’s options of going forward with the planned Prop A (2000) renovation of the Eureka Valley-Harvey Milk Memorial Branch Library or delaying this project in order to allow time for development of Supervisor Bevan Dufty and the GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender) Historical Society's proposal for a collocated museum/research center. Mr. Underwood noted that it was estimated that in order to make the 20,000 sq. ft. expanded branch library and museum/research center on two floors at the Eureka Valley-Harvey Milk Memorial Branch Library proposal viable would require that the GLBT Historical Society to raise $15 million in private funds. The Acting City Librarian called attention to the need to make a decision as construction cost escalation continued to erode available Prop. A (Branch Library Improvement Bond 2000) funds available for this project every week that passed without the project going forward. Mr. Underwood called attention to the longstanding and close cooperative relationship that had existed between the Library and the GLBT Historical Society. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #4 EUREKA VALLEY-HARVEY MILK MEMORIAL BRANCH An anonymous member of the public lamented the lack of a written presentation on the proposed GLBT museum/research center, suggesting that it would lead to diminished neighborhood branch library services, and commented that it would be foolish to consider embarking on such a project without more information. Mr. Abraham Brown, a former Prosper Street neighbor of the branch library for many years and member of the GLBT Historical Society commented on the many nuisance issues that existed around the current branch building and urged the Commissioners to favorably consider the opportunity offered by the proposed partnership with the GLBT Historical Society. Mr. Brown commented that the current unattractive 1960s era building was too small and lacked sufficient community related content and urged the Commissioners to take this opportunity to expand the branch and create a 21st century library. Mr. Andrew King, spoke in support of the proposed GLBT museum/research center noting the importance of saving historical materials and calling attention to San Francisco's central role in the GLBT history. Mr. King called attention to the many important San Francisco businesses and institutions that no longer existed. Ms. Susan Stryker, former Executive Director of the GLBT Historical Society spoke in support of the proposed GLBT museum/research center. Ms. Stryker observed that while there was some overlap between the collections of the Library's Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center, the GLBT Historical Society's collections contained irreplaceable materials. Ms. Stryker commented that it should be a responsibility of the community and the City to work together to preserve history. Ms. Edith Wellin, a Buena Vista neighborhood resident, spoke in opposition to the GLBT museum/research center proposal suggesting that it was inappropriate and would illegally violate the terms of the Branch Library Improvement Bond (Prop. A 2000) constituting an illegal grant of public property to a private institution. Ms. Wellen announced that she would write an official letter requesting that the City Attorney rule on the legality of the proposal. Mr. Steve Estes, an historian and branch library user, spoke in support of the proposed GLBT museum/research center noting that such a center would increase access to the important materials in both the Library's and the GLBT Historical Society's collections and provide enhanced branch library services creating a national GLBT research center similar to the famed New York Public Library's Schaumburg Center. Mr. Mauricio Vela suggested that consideration of the GLBT museum/research center at the Branch Library be postponed until additional information was available, suggesting that supporting this proposal to share library space while not allowing the Bernal Heights Preschool to remain, represented a double standard where the GLBT Center is welcomed and the preschool evicted. An anonymous Prosper Street neighbor of the Branch Library commented that the neighbors; had not been informed about the proposed GLBT museum/research center; suggested that the proposed collaboration could negatively impact the library system; and expressed concern that cost of any delay in the proposed branch renovation project would be made good. Mr. Nestor Kaiser, a native San Franciscan and Eureka Valley Branch user, spoke in opposition to the proposed museum/research center, suggesting that it would open the door to converting our public libraries to other uses and would be a balkanization of the public library. Mr. Kaiser suggested that the museum/research center project should only be funded with private funds. Ms. Mary Zalena Thomas, a branch library user, questioned the need for an GLBT museum /research center as part of the Public Library and suggested that the existing GLBT Community Center could be used for this purpose instead. Ms. Thomas criticized Supervisor Dufty for proposing the project. An anonymous speaker noted that the GLBT Historical Society served everyone in the community not just the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities. This person recalled his family's heritage of preserving history and noted the constant threat of loss of important materials as individuals holding important documents and items pass away, and the items are scattered, citing as example a unique recording by Gay pioneer civil rights leader Jose Sarria he had found at a garage sale. Community Historian Greg Pennington spoke in support of the GLBT museum/research center proposal noting that it would not only preserve and make know important historical records but that it would be a valuable economic enhancement to the neighborhood and the City not just the GLBT community. Mr. Ray Bruno spoke in opposition to the proposed GLBT museum/research center as an inappropriate use of public funds, suggesting that the proposed GLBT museum research center might be a good idea if privately funded. Mr. Don Raumsberg, GLBT Historical Society, spoke in favor of the proposed GLBT museum/research center collocated at the Eureka Valley-Harvey Milk Memorial Branch Library noting that this project would be an ideal collaboration of public/private Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #4 EUREKA VALLEY-HARVEY MILK MEMORIAL BRANCH Commission Coulter called attention to the many legitimate if differing points of view concerning this proposal and noted the close historic relationship and cooperative ties between the Library's Hormel Center and the GLBT Historical Society. Commissioner Coulter noted that it was appropriate that the Library work with San Francisco's diverse communities and as a stable institution collaborate with community organizations to preserve San Francisco's unique heritage of history and culture. Commissioner Coulter suggested that there were two issues facing the Commission: the future of the renovated Eureka Valley-Harvey Milk Memorial Branch Library; and the potential for a very beneficial collaboration with the GLBT Historical Society. Commissioner Coulter noted that the Hormel Center was outgrowing its existing spaces and would require room to grow in the future and that the Commission needed to be prudent in considering these options. Commissioner Coulter requested that BLIP Manager Marilyn Thompson discuss the impact of any additional delays in starting work on the planned Prop. A (2000) renovation of the existing branch building. Ms. Thompson reported there was a serious risk that up to $300,000 of budgeted funds could be lost to construction costs escalation if the project was further delayed until Fall 2005. There followed a discussion among the Commissioners concerning how best to minimize risk and still leave the door open for consideration of the GLBT Historical Society's proposal. It was a consensus of the Commission that up until the point that construction bids were sought, roughly a one year period, work should go forward on the existing planned renovation, but that prior to bids being advertised, the GLBT Historical Society would come before the Commission and present a fully detailed, with funding issues addressed, plan to realize their museum/research facility proposal. Vice President Steiman noted that if a condominium relationship for shared use of the site with clear demarcation between the branch library and the museum/research center were possible, it was a plan she could seriously consider. Vice President Steiman called attention to the distinction between this proposal and the situation involving the Bernal Heights Preschool that was actually functioning within the branch library and using its space rather than operating separately as was proposed for the GLBT museum/research center. Commissioner Bautista noted similar proposals for shared use had been embraced, and that if done properly as outlined by Commissioner Coulter it should be considered. In response to a question by Commissioner Chin, Deputy City Attorney Catherine Barnes discussed the legal limitations on use of bond funds and Acting City Librarian Paul Underwood emphasized that no Library bond money was proposed to be used for the GLBT Historical Society's museum/research center project. Commissioner Chin noted that the Library needed to exercise care that all of our diverse communities be treated equally and noted that it was an important that the Library insure visibility to unrepresented communities. Vice President Steiman noted the Commission’s first and foremost concern was for better library services. President Higueras noted that the Bond Program offered opportunities to consider new ideas, however, any such new ideas needed to have a real basis. President Higueras noted that by creatively pursuing both tracks the Library reduced risks for loss to the original project but still retained a realistic option to choose the alternative proposal. Acting City Librarian Paul Underwood said that the Library would continue to work with the Supervisor and the community to clarify details of this mixed use proposal that could benefit both the Library and the community. MOTION: by Commissioner Coulter, 2nd Commissioner Bautista to go forward with the existing proposal for the renovation of the Eureka Valley-Harvey Milk Memorial Branch Library but prior to the construction bid process allow for another opportunity to consider the GLBT museum/research center proposed by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender (GLBT) Historical Society. Approved by the following vote: 5-0 AYE (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, and Steiman) President Higueras announced that the 2005-06 Budget Report would be taken up next, then the remaining Agenda Items in their posted order. President Higueras called a brief recess at 5:20pm The Commission returned to session at 5:35pm. AGENDA ITEM #5 2005-06 BUDGET UPDATE Retired Library Chief Financial Officer George Nichols presented an overview of the Library's greatly improved revenue picture since his last report to the Commission in December noting there would now be no loss in net funds to the Library's baseline budget. Mr. Nichols reported the anticipated $58.6 million in 2005/06 revenues could provide opportunities for adding a few budget items and still retain a prudent budget reserve. The former Library Chief Financial Officer then outlined in general budget proposals suggested by staff for the 2005/06 Library Budget, informing the Commissioners that the Budget would be further refined and brought back to the Commission for its review and possible approval on February 17th meeting. The Acting City Librarian then called attention to some additions to the Library Budget costs. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #5 2005-06 BUDGET UPDATE An anonymous member of the public noted availability of explanatory documents in advance of the meeting, but expressed concern that additional budget details might be presented after members of the public offered comment on the budget. This person additionally suggested that the Library proposed going forward with RFID implementation in a manner that avoided public discussion and was a risky $3 million expenditure in uncertain times. This person suggested protecting user privacy was a primary concern. Mr. Peter Warfield expressed his opposition to RFID implementation and named a number of individuals and organizations who he said had informed the Library of their opposition to use of RFID technology. Mr. Warfield suggested that promises to include critics of RFID in the process of deciding on implementation had been broken and urged all funds for RFID be cut from the proposed budget. Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #5 2005-06 BUDGET UPDATE President Higueras emphatically noted that it was and remained the Library's purpose to fully air all of the issues and address concerns raised about the Library's use of RFID. President Higueras noted that this issue had been discussed at several public meetings and that there would certainly be additional such meetings, including another public forum on this issue. Acting City Librarian Paul Underwood pointed out that in order to be properly addressed, a defined proposal had to be budgeted in order to have something to discuss. President Higueras suggested that Library staff prepare an outline workplan of the next steps in the proposed process leading to possible implementation by the end of this year so that all concerned parties would be aware of what was happening. In addition, President Higueras noted that there would be no implementation until a process of review had been carried through. The Acting City Librarian responded that the staff was fully committed to pursuing an open and thorough process. Vice President Steiman observed that the Library Commission and staff were strongly committed to addressing the privacy issues involved with RFID and found absurd criticism that there would not be an open process of review. President Higueras noted that while the Library had failed to outline its process sufficiently to those concerned to this point, there were many months to consider the issues involved. In response to a question by Vice President Steiman, the Acting City Librarian explained that two years of funding for RFID were being proposed in the 2005-06 Budget in order to catch up with the original schedule that was designed to coincide with and take advantage of BLIP branch library improvements. In response to Commissioners’ questions, the Acting City Librarian highlighted how the budget proposed to address ongoing maintenance issues and provide for “opening day” collections for the new and renovated branch libraries. In response to additional RFID related concerns expressed by President Higueras, Chief of the Main Library Kathy Lawhun discussed aspects of the staff’s ongoing research efforts to identify the best and most current information available on these issues in the professional library world and from potential RFID vendors. Commissioner Bautista noted that including information gleaned from other libraries use of RFID would be important. Commissioner Chin noted that there were differing concerns with and levels of support for use of RFID among library professionals. Commissioner Coulter agreed with the concern expressed by President Higueras and expressed dissatisfaction with the manner in which staff had handled this issue thus far. Commissioner Coulter noted that the Board of Supervisors had decided to reserve all of the funds allocated last year for RFID pending resolution of concerns raised by reputable civic organizations such as the ACLU, (American Civil Liberties Union). Commissioner Coulter said that he believed critics of RFID should be fully engaged in the Library's ongoing process so that there could be no valid criticism that their issues and concerns were not fully aired, even if the Library came to differing conclusions about RFID after a full and open review process. Commissioner Coulter suggested that if done correctly that the Library could offer a national model in how to go about RFID implementation. AGENDA ITEM #2 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF DECEMBER 16, 2004 Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #2 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF DECEMBER 16, 2004 An anonymous member of the public found these Meeting Minutes an example of a pattern of obliterating history in reporting Commission meeting minutes, citing errors and omissions in public comment reported. The person particularly called attention to the lack of detailed report of some comments offered by Commissioner Coulter that this person suggested had been specifically requested be reported in these Minutes. Mr. Peter Warfield found many deficiencies in these Minutes that could be improved or corrected. Mr. Warfield cited in particular: a lack of report in its discussion of approval of meeting minutes of details of Supervisor Mirkirimi’s comments offered at the November 18th Commission Meeting; and leaving out of RFID matters in the discussion of the Budget Workshop. Mr. Warfield noted that he wished to clarify his comments about books, hours, and staff salaries made at this meeting, saying he had no problems with staff salaries. Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #3 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF DECEMBER 16, 2005 MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, 2nd Commissioner Chin, for approval of the Minutes of the regular meeting of December 16, 2004. Approved by the following vote: ACTION: 5-0 AYE (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, and Steiman) AGENDA ITEM #3 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF JANUARY 6, 2005 Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #3 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF JANUARY 6, 2005 An anonymous member of the public had something nice to say about these minutes but did not know if he would have sufficient time to do so. This person then suggested that previously approved Commission Minutes were not being posted as required on the Library's website. This person noted that including public comments offered was a basis for our legal system rooted in fairness. Additionally this person discussed their lawsuits against the Library. This Anonymous member of the public then cited omissions in the Minutes pointing to a failure to report details of some comments offered by Commissioner Coulter. Mr. Peter Warfield suggested that there were many improvements possible to these minutes and stated that a page 1 comment attributed to him grossly distorted what he had said. Mr. Warfield also found the report of the Agenda Item #3 discussion of a staff report inaccurate. Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #3 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF JANUARY 6, 2005 Commissioner Coulter called the Secretary's attention to a misidentification in the Minutes correcting the name reported to be Steve Harris. MOTION: by Commissioner Chin, 2nd Commissioner Bautista for approval of the Minutes of the regular meeting of January 6, 2005. Approved by the following vote: ACTION: 5-0 AYE (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, and Steiman) AGENDA ITEM #6 CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT Acting City Librarian Paul Underwood announced the selection of a new Chief of Technical Services, Patricia Fahrenholt, who brings a vast array of professional experience to the Library from her previous position with the San Antonio Public Library. Mr. Underwood then reported on his visits to local legislators offices including Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, State Senator Carole Midgen, and California State Assembly members Yee and Leno during “Legislative Day in the District” activities. The Acting City Librarian then reported on upcoming programs and exhibitions. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #6 CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT (none offered) Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #6 CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT President Higueras lauded the extensive array of programs and exhibits being held at the Library. AGENDA ITEM #7 FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY REPORT Friends’ Executive Director Donna Bero made her first report to the Library Commission since taking up her duties three weeks previously, and briefly outlined her extensive professional background. Ms. Bero emphasized her willingness to build a close a cooperative relationship between Library staff and the Friends. The Executive Director of the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library highlighted all of the recent changes and new beginnings for the Friends and the many beneficial activities currently being planned. Ms. Bero concluded her report with an update on Friends’ Capital Campaign for the Branch Libraries neighborhood events. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #7 FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY REPORT AGENDA ITEM None offered. Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #7 FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY REPORT The Commissioners welcomed Ms. Bero to her new job and wished her great success in her efforts to support our public libraries. AGENDA ITEM # 8 LABOR UNION REPORT None offered was presented. AGENDA ITEM #9 NEW BUSINESS Commissioner Bautista requested that Main Library be decorated to represent and reflect the diversity of the City's holiday traditions during the December 2005 holiday season. President Higueras suggested that such decorations could reflect the wide array and diversity of holiday observances in San Francisco. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #9 NEW BUSINESS An anonymous member of the public commented that decoration of the libraries should be done for all holidays not just those in December. Mr. Peter Warfield suggested that there could be a book tie –in to the proposed holiday observances. AGENDA ITEM #10 ADJOURNMENT MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, 2nd Commissioner Coulter that the meeting be adjourned. Approved by the following vote: 5-0 AYE (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, and Steiman) There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 7:11 pm. Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 2/15/05 revised Please note: These are draft minutes subject to change by the Library Commission. Copies of Commission Minutes and handouts are available in the Office of the Commission Secretary, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 ATTACHMENTS to the February 3, 2005 Minutes: February 1, 2005 Informational Report on the 2005-06 Library Budget. Library Commission meeting of February 3, 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. 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 Web site . Additional materials not listed as explanatory documents, 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).
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