Library Commission Minutes - March 6, 2001

Minutes of the regular meeting of Tuesday, March 6, 2001 (as Approved May 1, 2001) The San Francisco Public Library Commission held its regular meeting on Tuesday, March 6, 2001 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library. Vice President Steiman called the meeting to order at 4:02 PM. The following members were noted present: Vice President Steiman, and Commissioners Chin, Coulter Streets, and Swig. The Secretary noted Commissioners Bautista and Higueras were excused attendance. AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF JANUARY 2, 2001 REGULAR COMMISSION MEETING Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF JANUARY 2, 2001 SPECIAL COMMISSION MEETING An anonymous member of the public commented on the delay in approving the meeting Minutes citing the Sunshine Ordinance's requirement that draft Minutes be posted within 10 days of a meeting. The anonymous member of the public observed that a long delay promoted confusion in responding to draft Minutes, noted that documents attached to the Minutes were placed between the cover page for Appendix A Public Comment Summary Statements and those statements, and cited another copy of draft Minutes where Appendix A was not stapled to the body of the Minutes. This individual found that the Minutes tended to generalize specific comments. Mr. Peter Warfield agreed with the previous speaker concerning a lack of specifics. Mr. Warfield noted finding no reference to discussions on the Friends and Foundation bookstore in Item #6 POE Recommendations. Mr. Warfield also inquired concerning reported comments by the Acting City Librarian about a second floor Atrium Bridge and providing direct patron elevation access on the second floor. Mr. Warfield requested revision of a page 6 public comment attributed to him discussing a concern that the proposals did not provide sufficient additional space for books. Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF JANUARY 2, 2001 REGULAR COMMISSION MEETING In response to questions by Vice President Steiman, the Secretary reported a copying error resulting in an extra Appendix A title page being inserted into the draft. The Secretary reported that the usual format would have Appendix A, Public Comment Summary statements immediately following the draft text and then any attached documents following those pages. MOTION: by Commissioner Chin, seconded by Commissioner Coulter for approval of the Minutes. ACTION: AYE 5-0 (Chin, Coulter, Steiman, Streets, and Swig) AGENDA ITEM #2 CITY LIBRARIAN'S REPORT The Acting City Librarian, Ms. Hildreth announced that Ned Himmel, Chief of the Main Library would be leaving to take up another position and that Kathy Lawhun had been named the Acting Chief of the Main Library. Ms. Hildreth the provided the Commissioners with an update on recent Prop. 14 (State Library Construction Bond) related activities. The Acting City Librarian observed that the draft regulations under consideration gave priority to projects which included joint projects between libraries and schools, and that broad definitions of that kind of cooperation were under consideration. Ms. Hildreth described how the funds would likely be dispensed in three cycles, $150 million, then nine months later $110 million, followed in nine months by the final $90 million. She noted that this could be very useful in planning the Library's Prop. A Branch Library Construction and Improvement Bond construction program to coincide with the availability of Prop. 14 funds. Ms. Hildreth next reported on the progress of proposed revisions in the Library's Fine and Fee Schedule at the Board of Supervisors. She noted that Supervisor Yee had proposed that a fine amnesty be held prior to its implementation as a companion measure to the revised Fine and Fee Schedule. The Acting City Librarian then informed the Commissioners concerning efforts to restore a #19 Polk Street Muni bus line stop at the Larkin Street entrance of the Main Library that had been recently discontinued. She reported that Muni had agreed to reconsider its decision, but that a response was not expected for the next few weeks. Ms. Hildreth noted the next nearest Muni stop was at McAllister and Larkin Streets, two blocks away. The Acting City Librarian then discussed the February 24th CALTEC Workshop. Ms. Hildreth then outlined the initial discussion phases of a planned migration of library online systems from a main frame based system to a web-based product. She mentioned that Library Automation Consultant Diane Mayo had met with library staff to begin a process of review and consultation with a number of staff committees concerning where the library's automation systems might evolve toward in the future. The Acting City Librarian noted that there would be a RFP (request for proposals) process to survey the entire market and extensive staff review of the various automation options in order to determine which would best meet the Library's needs. Ms. Hildreth reported that some funding for these activities was to be included in next year's budget. The Acting City Librarian then discussed ongoing branch renovation and improvements activities citing a three-month closure of the Anza Branch for extensive electrical work, asbestos removal, and flooring replacement. Ms. Hildreth pointed out that all branch electrical upgrade activities would be done in light of the major renovations that would be done during the branch bond program. Concerning a matter which came to her attention to late to be noted on the agenda, Ms. Hildreth next reported on the site selection community meetings held for the Visitacion Valley on March 19th, for the Ingleside Branch on March 28th, for the Portola Branch on April 4th, and lastly for Glen Park on April 10th. Ms. Hildreth then described the details of an extensive public outreach and advertising effort to invite residents of these neighborhoods to attend these meetings. The Acting City Librarian invited the Commissioners to attend these community meetings. Public comment on Agenda Item #2 CITY LIBRARIAN'S REPORT: An anonymous member of the public again referring to the Minutes pointed out that Commissioner Steiman had attended the January 2nd meeting. The anonymous member of the public observed that members of the Board of Supervisors had expressed concerns with aspects of the proposed Fine and Fee Schedule that the members of the Library Commission had not. This person further commented concerning differing figures for the numbers of losses of materials reported during the hearings. The anonymous member of the public noted gratification that the Supervisors had in this individual's view carefully observed the requirements of the Sunshine Ordinance, noting a comment by Supervisor Peskin, when addressing this matter. This person commended the Board's example in this case to the Commissioners. Mr. Ed Regan strongly urged the reinstatement of the #19 Polk Street bus stop at the Main Library. Mr. Peter Warfield thanked the Chair for following up on the details of the Minutes, and commented on a discussion of bond project management and the Golden Gateway Library network which were discussed at the CALTAC meeting which he had attended. Mr. Warfield expressed strong interest in hearing the details of any planned migration of Library automated systems to a web based format. Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #2 CITY LIBRARIAN'S REPORT Vice President Steiman noted that she had indeed attended the January 2nd meeting. She then initiated a discussion among the Commissioners concerning the role of having a project manager as opposed to a bond program manager to oversee the branch library construction and improvement bond program. Vice President Steiman emphasized that it was her wish that our manager be actively involved in every aspect of the bond program rather than just take a supervisory role. In response to questions by Commissioner Streets, Ms, Hildreth outlined the Library's efforts to aggressively apply to get any available Prop. 14 (State Library Construction Bond) funds for various potential branch library projects. She noted in particular that the June 2002 funding cycle would be an opportune time for application for Prop. 14 funds for the Richmond Branch Library project. Ms. Hildreth then discussed several other projects that could qualify for Prop. 14 funds, noting that the proposed funding cycles for expending the state funds seemed to work well with the likely schedule of San Francisco's branch library bond funded projects. Responding to additional questions by Commissioner Streets, Ms. Hildreth reported in some detail the discussions at the Board of Supervisor's Finance and Labor Committee concerning the Library's in house efforts to recover materials. Vice President Steiman urged her fellow commissioners to attend some of the site selection community meetings being held to gather public input and suggestions for new locations to the branch libraries currently in rented facilities. Commissioner Chin called attention to the opportunities for successful cooperation between the Library and the San Francisco School District in obtaining Prop. 14 matching funds for projects, calling particular attention to the potential for a new Ortega Branch Library which could offer joint services to the nearby school. AGENDA ITEM #3AMERICAN RED CROSS PRESENTATION Ms. Jolinda Sim, Chair, the San Francisco Leadership Board of the Bay Area Chapter of the American Red Cross and Mr. Jason A. Smith, Red Cross Director of Public Affairs provided the Commissioners with an extensive overview of the work of the Bay Area Chapter of the American Red Cross in conjunction with the national observance of March as "Red Cross Month. Ms. Sim and Mr. Smith described in extensive detail the many varied programs and community educational activities sponsored by the Red Cross in San Francisco and the Bay Area. In particular they discussed programs to train local residents how to respond to emergencies, concerning the Red Cross's many youth serving programs, and about the Red Cross' extensive earthquake preparedness programs. Ms. Sim proposed that the Commission consider various ways in which the library and the local Red Cross Chapter could cooperate, such as making Red Cross informational materials available in branch libraries, and perhaps hosting neighborhood emergency training programs at the branches. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #3AMERICAN RED CROSS PRESENTATION None offered. Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #3AMERICAN RED CROSS PRESENTATION Vice President Steiman expressed the Commission's appreciation to Ms. Sim and Mr. Smith for their presentation. Responding to questions by Commissioners Chin and Swig, Ms. Sim discussed various ways that the Red Cross Chapter could work with the Library to provide neighborhood specific emergency response training for library patrons and neighborhood residents.. In answer to a question by Commissioner Swig, Ms. Sim noted that the Red Cross Chapter was an active partner with the San Francisco Office of Emergency Services (OES) and that they jointly coordinated disaster planning with city staff. AGENDA ITEM #4 LIBRARY PRUDENT BUDGET RESERVE. Library Finance Director, Mr. George Nichols gave the Commissioners a detailed overview of the issues involved in considering creating a prudent level of reserve funds in the Library Budget. The Library's Finance Director then reviewed common practices used in setting budget reserves, citing examples used by the State of California and other City and County of San Francisco models. Mr. Nichols reported that in the past at the direction of the Mayor's Budget Office the Library had maintained a budget reserve of around $1 million. He further reported that in recent years the budget reserve had been at about 3.5% of the Library's budget or around $1.75 million. It was his recommendation that the Commission consider adopting a policy providing maximum flexibility by directing that a budget reserve be maintained at between 3% and 5% of the Library's overall budget. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #4 LIBRARY PRUDENT BUDGET RESERVE. An anonymous member of the public commented on the Commission's experience with the Library budget during the early days of Prop. E (Library Preservation Fund) and concerning this individual's view that the 15-year cycle of Prop. E funding provided for the opportunity to set aside money in the early years so as to maintain funding in the later years. The anonymous member of the public observed that the public wanted to invest in library services, not in building a savings account and primary consideration must be given to long term planning to avoid the consequences of unforeseen circumstances. Mr. Ed Regan noted that saving money was OK, but not at the expense of buying more books for the collection. Mr. Peter Warfield commented that caution should be taken when money was kept in reserve, that the priority of Prop. E was more books and open hours, and questioned the legality of this use of Prop. E funds. Mr. Warfield found that he was unclear as to what specific action the Commission might take to set a budget reserve. Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #4 LIBRARY PRUDENT BUDGET RESERVE In response to questions and comments by Commissioner Streets, Mr. Nichols discussed in some detail the most recent estimates by the City Controller of the revenues available to the Library. Mr. Nichols noted that the Prop. E (Library Preservation Fund) set aside protects the library budget from severe cutbacks should there be an economic downturn. He further reported that property tax revenues on which this fund was in part based continued to outpace proposed spending and that the Library's budget expenditures were absolutely consistent with revenues projected. Mr. Nichols explained that the proposed budget reserve could be derived from budgetary savings by the Library and increased revenues in excess of projected income to the Prop. E Library Preservation Fund. As an example of this, the Library's Finance Director pointed to the $1.1 million in unanticipated Prop. E revenues in this fiscal year that the Commission had directed to be spent as recommended in the Supplemental Appropriation request pending before the Board of Supervisors. In response to comments by the Commissioners, Mr. Nichols noted that if costs did exceed revenues, then cuts would have to be made or the Library would have to ask for an additional General Fund subsidy. There followed a discussion of these issues among the Commissioners with Commissioner Streets noting that the Library could not ask the Mayor to bail it out again if the Library got into budget difficulties. MOTION: by Commissioner Coulter, seconded by Commissioner Streets that as an annual goal a budget reserve ranging from 3 to 5% of revenues of the Library Preservation Fund and the General Fund should be maintained. ACTION: AYE 5-0 (Chin, Coulter, Steiman, Streets, and Swig) AGENDA ITEM #5 AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION RESOLUTION At the request of Vice President Steiman, the Commission Secretary read the proposed resolution (copy attached) urging that the American Library Association relocate activities planned for its June 2001 meeting in San Francisco away from the Marriott Hotel, the meeting's designated headquarters, because of an ongoing labor dispute with hotel employees. The Acting City Librarian discussed the background of the situation that led to the proposal that the Commission formally adopt a resolution concerning the ongoing labor dispute involving the headquarters hotel at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Meeting to be held in San Francisco in June 2001. Ms. Hildreth explained the Library's concerns regarding this matter and commented on the Library's role as the host library for this important annual gathering. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #5 AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION RESOLUTION An anonymous member of the public made two brief comments, first pointing out a transposition in the proper name of the Hotel and Restaurant Workers Union, Local 2, and secondly while expressing strong support for the resolution observed that becoming involved in a divisive dispute should normally be avoided but in this case not doing so would send a negative message. Mr. Ed Regan expressed opposition to the Library taking a position in this controversy. Ms. Andrea Grimes, a Main Library Librarian speaking on behalf of the Librarian's Guild, reminded the Commissioners of the long and difficult struggle for fair treatment of the Marriott workers. Ms. Grimes read a letter to the ALA sent by Ms. Josie Mooney of SEIU, Local 790, President of the San Francisco Labor Council urging the American Library Association to support the Marriott workers and urging the ALA to relocate its annual meeting activities away from the designated headquarters hotel. Ms. Grimes then introduced Ms. Dolores Contrado, a Marriott Hotel worker, who requested the Library Commission's support for the hotel workers struggle for a fair labor agreement. Mr. Ramon Guevara, also a Marriott Hotel worker, thanked the Commission for taking up the resolution in support of the hotel workers and outlined some of the many labor grievances which the hotel's workers had been unable to resolve fairly with the hotel management. Mr. Jose Cantu thanked the Commissioners for considering this resolution and urged the Library Commissioners to strongly respond to the injustices experienced by the Marriott Hotel employees and send a message to the Company that San Francisco defends workers' rights. Ms. Lucille Flado urged support for the Marriott Hotel workers, called for support for the ongoing boycott of the Hotel, and expressed concern at injustices experienced by the workers. Mr. Peter Warfield commented that the Marriott Hotel management had violated agreements with the City to deal fairly with its workers and recommended support for the resolution. Ms. Deetje Boler spoke strongly on behalf of the workers, urged support for the boycott of the Hotel, and approval of the resolution calling on the ALA to relocate its activities. Ms. Boler noted that having choose between missing ALA events or violating the labor boycott would cause union librarians great distress. Mr. Rich Clayton pointed out charges of more than 100 violations of Fair Labor Laws that were pending against the Marriott Hotel, noting that hotel management had bargained in bad faith. Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #5 AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION RESOLUTION Commissioner Swig commented that while she normally would recommend that the Library avoid getting involved in such a dispute that in this case as the Library was the host library for this meeting it was imperative that the Commission take action to make its views on this matter clear. In response to a question by Commissioner Streets, the Acting City Librarian discussed the background of the American Library Association's (ALA) choice of the Marriott Hotel as the headquarters for this annual meeting several years ago. Ms. Hildreth suggested that representations had been made by the Hotel that the labor dispute would be resolved and as was evident this had not occurred. Ms. Hildreth then discussed how the many alternative locations for ALA events in June would provide ample opportunity for our librarians to participate without having to attend any events at the Marriott Hotel in violation of the boycott. Commissioner Swig noted the great difficulty in finding a location to host such a massive event with 30,000 attendees and the even greater difficulties in making changes in such plans once they were made. In response to a query by Vice President Steiman, Ms. Hildreth explained what the City might be able to do to respond to this problem. Commissioner Chin noted that there were a very limited number of options available given that the event was about to happen and that the Marriott seemed to have acted in bad faith. The Acting City Librarian called attention to the importance of the message the Commission would send to our library employees and other Bay Area librarians by going on record in support of the Marriott workers. MOTION: by Commissioner Chin, seconded by Commissioner Swig for approval of the resolution with a correction of the hotel workers union's name. ACTION: AYE 5-0 (Chin, Coulter, Steiman, Streets, and Swig) Agenda Item #6 FRIENDS AND FOUNDATION REPORT Ms. Denise Donovan, Friends and Foundation of the San Francisco Public Library gave the Commissioners a report on the upcoming Library Laureates Dinner to be held at the Main Library on April 2, 2001. Ms. Donovan noted several of the authors and poets to be honored. Ms. Donovan next reported to the Commissioners on the progress of creating the Friends and Foundation new Book Bay at the Main shop at the Grove Street entrance of the Main Library. She next called attention to a new series of weekly programs to be offered by the Library's Hormel Center. Public comment on comment on Agenda Item #6 FRIENDS AND FOUNDATION REPORT None offered. Commission comment on Agenda Item #6 FRIENDS AND FOUNDATION REPORT Ms. Hildreth reported that the Book Bay at the Main would be open and staffed during all of the Main Library's public service hours. In response to a question by Commissioner Coulter, Ms. Donovan outlined some of the planned weekly Hormel Center programs. Friends and Foundation Executive Director Chuck Forester pointed out that these programs for poets, authors, and spiritual leaders offered a venue for community based groups to become more deeply engaged with the Library. Agenda Item #7 LIBRARY LABOR UNION REPORT None offered Agenda item #8 NEW BUSINESS Commissioner Swig requested an update on the Library's Strategic Plan be calendared. Public comment on Agenda item #8 NEW BUSINESS An anonymous member of the public expressed support for a more extensive discussion of the Library's Strategic Plan. The anonymous member of the public also observed that this individual recalled that Commissioners had requested at recent meetings that these issues be brought forward, but that they had not been heard. Agenda item #9 PUBLIC COMMENT Mr. Ed Regan requested that the Library adopt increased public service hours. An anonymous member of the public again commented on what this individual described as a Verandah Factor, that is the difference between how the community perceived issues and how the Commissioners view them. The anonymous member of the public cited the discussion of the Post Occupancy Evaluation as an example of the failure of Commission to appropriately address concerns raised by members of the public. This individual observed that when issues are brushed aside and people not treated with dignity an impression is created which then becomes the reality. Mr. Peter Warfield commented on the discussion of the revised Fine and Fee Schedule at the Board of Supervisors, noting Supervisor Peskin had requested a continuation of the discussion because some documents had not been made available to members of the public. Mr. Warfield reported that Supervisor Peskin had directed city departments presenting matters to the Board also make those materials available to the public. He further commented that a lack of availability of documents denied members of the public the ability to fully study the issues and make meaningful comments on them. Mr. Warfield expressed a wish that the Library take this direction and make it policy that all documents presented to the Board of Supervisors and city agencies be made available to the public. Agenda Item #10 ADJOURNMENT MOTION: by Commissioner Chin, seconded by Commissioner Coulter that the meeting be adjourned in memory of the late Helen Louise Weinstein, a dedicated friend and supporter of the San Francisco Public Library. ACTION: AYE 5-0 (Chin, Coulter, Steiman, Streets, and Swig) The meeting was adjourned at 5:57PM. Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 4/9/01 The number of members of the public who spoke anonymously at this meeting 1. Please note: Copies of Commission Minutes and handouts are available in the Office of the Commission Secretary, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
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