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Library Commission Minutes - April 3, 2001

Minutes of the regular meeting of Tuesday, April 3, 2001 (As approved May 1, 2001).

The San Francisco Public Library Commission held its regular meeting on Tuesday, April 3, 2001 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.

The meeting was called to order at 4: 05PM by Vice President Steiman.

The following members were noted present: Vice President Steiman, and Commissioners Bautista, Chin, and Coulter.

The Secretary noted Commissioners Higueras, Streets, and Swig were excused attendance.

Vice President Steiman announced that Mayor Brown had accepted the Commission's nomination and appointed Susan Hildreth to be City Librarian.

AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF JANUARY 15, 2001 SPECIAL COMMISSION MEETING

Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF January 15, 2001 SPECIAL COMMISSION MEETING

An anonymous member of the public commented on a page 5 summary of the discussion of the City Librarian Search Committee Report concerning Mr. Hawkins comments on the importance of an open search process. The anonymous member of the public then discussed remarks attributed to President Higueras this person had transcribed from the recording of the meeting regarding the kind of search process used when Ms. Minudri was appointed City Librarian. The anonymous member of the public found these comments astounding given the evidence offered in a lawsuit concerning Ms. Minudri's hiring and suggested that these remarks should be included in the Minutes. Mr. Ed Regan reported that his comments had been generally reported accurately, but clarified that his page 4 mention of hiring graduates of City College to work in the Library specifically referred to graduates of its library technology program. Mr. Peter Warfield commented that page 3 remarks attributed to him should be clarified to note how and whether some of the proposed improvements were related to POE recommendations, and noted that he had asked that the projects be linked to specific funding sources. Mr. Warfield additionally suggested that on page 4 in remarks attributed to Mr. Hawkins that it be noted that he had said that public input would rather than could be included as part of the search process. Further, Mr. Warfield requested that remarks attributed to him on page 6 concerning the Branch Reorganization Plan be clarified to read that there was no library prepared justification for the increase in the number of staff to be supervised under the plan.

Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF January 15, 2001 SPECIAL COMMISSION MEETING

Vice President Steiman pointed out that President Higueras' comments regarding the process involved in appointment of Ms. Minudri as City Librarian specifically referred to the fact that no search firm was used in that process. Commissioner Coulter observed that anonymous member of the public had spoken against using a search firm in conducting the City Librarian Search process this time.

MOTION: by Commissioner Chin, seconded by Commissioner Bautista for approval of the Minutes.

ACTION: AYE 4-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, and Steiman)

AGENDA ITEM #2 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF FEBRUARY 6, 2001 REGULAR COMMISSION MEETING

Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #2 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF FEBRUARY 6, 2001 REGULAR COMMISSION MEETING

An anonymous member of the public requested that in the report of the discussion of the Supplemental Appropriation that the issues involved in a request by Supervisor Yee for a City Attorney's Opinion concerning the proper use of Prop. E (Library Preservation Fund) be clarified. The anonymous member of the public further requested that remarks attributed to Ms. Hildreth during a New Business discussion concerning an annual report be included in the Minutes. This individual also observed that the point of this individual's discussion of government by aristocracy was that it was the same thing as government by the "good" as related to remarks attributed to Commissioner Coulter. Mr. Ed Regan suggested regarding the page 12 report on the Branch Library Bond program that a special committee of the Library Commission be created to determine exactly what is wanted in the physical aspects of the proposed new branch libraries such as total square footage and types of uses for various rooms.

Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #2 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF February 6, 2001 REGULAR COMMISSION MEETING

Vice President Steiman requested that the Secretary review the meeting tape concerning Mr. Regan's reported remarks.

MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Chin for approval of the Minutes of February 6, 2001.

ACTION: AYE 4-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, and Steiman)

AGENDA ITEM #3 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF FEBRUARY 15, 2001 SPECIAL COMMISSION MEETING

Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #3 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF FEBRUARY 15, 2001 SPECIAL COMMISSION MEETING

An anonymous member of the public noted that this individual had not reviewed the Minutes, but again called the Commission's attention to the incompleteness of the audio tapes of the meetings. Mr. Ed Regan found that his comments were accurately reported in these Minutes.

MOTION: by Commissioner Chin, seconded by Commissioner Bautista for approval of the Minutes of February 6, 2001.

ACTION: AYE 4-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, and Steiman)

Vice President Steiman called up Agenda item #8 New Business out of Order.

AGENDA ITEM #8 NEW BUSINESS

Commissioner Chin requested that the Commission receive a report on the Library's proposed Summer Reading Programs for children and youth as many traditional Summer Schools would not be operating this Summer. Commissioner Coulter requested an update on the status of the Library Commission Policy handbook. Commissioner Bautista noted the improved appearance of several branch libraries and requested an update on the work of the Library's anti-graffiti task force.

Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #8 NEW BUSINESS

None offered.

AGENDA ITEM #4 CITY LIBRARIAN'S REPORT

The City Librarian informed the Commissioners that the Board of Supervisors had approved the Library's Fine and Fee Schedule except for the section creating a materials recovery program and the $10 fee that would have funded it. Ms. Hildreth also informed the Commissioners of Supervisor Yee's legislation authorizing a library fine amnesty period that was currently being considered by the Board of Supervisors. She noted that the Board of Supervisors could adopt this legislation by April 16th. Ms. Hildreth commented that if approved, the Library Commission would be asked to hold a hearing and authorize a fine amnesty period prior to July 1, 2001. The City Librarian next reported to the Commissioners concerning the "Check It Out" Campaign, a public relations effort to support libraries statewide, discussions of the recently released census data, updates on the availability of ebooks, the latest information on the Library of California, library staff recruitment information, an update on the state library bond program, and the new Libris library building design software program developed by the State Library presented at the annual Public Library Directors Forum held in Santa Barbara.

Ms. Hildreth then reported on the progress of the POE (Post Occupancy Evaluation) related supplemental appropriations request reporting that it had been approved by CIAC (Capital Improvements Advisory Committee) and that it had been introduced at the Board of Supervisors for discussion by the Board's Finance Committee before the end of April. The City Librarian informed the Commissioners concerning legislation in support of the ALA (American Library Association) lawsuit and a resolution limiting internet filtering of City owned computers introduced by Supervisor Mark Leno seeking to block enforcement of the recently enacted CIPA (Children's Internet Protection Act). Ms. Hildreth suggested that it was likely that the federal courts would place an injunction against enforcement of the law pending resolution of the many legal issues involved.

Ms. Hildreth next discussed the branch library site selection community meetings, calling attention to meetings for the Visitacion Valley Branch on March 19 and the Ingleside Branch on March 28. The City Librarian reminded the Commissioners that additional branch library site selection community meetings would be held for the Portola Branch on April 5 and for the Glen Park Branch on April 10, 2001. She noted that there had been excellent feedback from meeting participants and that many potentially good sites had been highlighted.

Noting that these issues had come to her attention after the meeting agenda was posted, Ms. Hildreth then brought the Commissioners up to date on the what the Library had been doing to persuade Muni to reconsider the elimination of a widely used #19 Polk Street Line bus stop near the Larkin Street entrance of the Main Library. Finally, the City Librarian informed the Commissioners concerning a serious book mutilation problem that had been occurring in the Main Library and at the Chinatown branch. Ms. Hildreth noted that the problem had been discussed at a March 30th General Staff Meeting to raise staff awareness and vigilance to bring the problem to an end. She noted that Library Security had involved the police department, that the damage was mainly targeted on gay and lesbian related materials, and was extensive. She discussed steps that staff were taking to catch the vandal and stop the problem.

Public comment on Agenda Item #43 CITY LIBRARIAN'S REPORT:

An anonymous member of the public complimented the City Librarian on her success with the Fine and Fee Schedule without the materials recovery program. The anonymous member of the public expressed disappointment that supporters of the library had contrary to Board of Supervisor's rules applauded those supporting the unsuccessful materials recovery portion of this proposal. This individual then commented on how support for or opposition to Library activities had been ascribed differently depending on who was doing them. Mr. Ed Regan called for the abolition of library fines. Mr. Regan suggested that the Library Security Department produce a report to the public on all materials lost through being overdue, because of theft, or those items that were weeded. Mr. Peter Warfield agreed with the previous speakers and observed that his reading of library literature convinced him that libraries with a no fines policy actually recovered more materials than libraries that charged fines. Mr. Warfield expressed happiness that the Supervisors had cut out the $10 fee and collection agency part of the Fine and Fee Schedule and that a fine amnesty was going forward. Mr. Warfield expressed the wish that the Commission had discussed the Fine and Fee matter more extensively and noted that he found the proposed use of the collection agency counter productive and harsh.

Commission comment on Agenda Item #4 CITY LIBRARIAN'S REPORT

Vice President Steiman requested that the Library keep detailed records of the rate of success of the new three overdue notices policy and assign clerical staff to make follow up phone calls to increase the recovery rate. She also was informed by the City Librarian in response to questions regarding students' use of ebooks that there would be a report to the Commission in the coming months on ebooks.

AGENDA ITEM #5 COLLECTION ASSESSMENT UPDATE

Roberto Esteves, Library Chief of Information and Resource Management gave the Commission a detailed overview of the extensive collection assessment program that the staff was undertaking. Mr. Esteves noted that the Library's collections were its 2nd most vital resource after the staff. He discussed in detail a proposed 10 year collection development plan which would be significantly based on a new look at the demographics of San Francisco Public library users. Mr. Esteves noted that this process would include an extensive examination of what was in the Library's collections and where the Library might want to go in the next few years. Mr. Esteves reported that this plan would replace the Library's 1994 Collection Development Plan, its first and only such effort.

Mr. Esteves described the ongoing first phase of this effort as a conspectus survey of the most of the Library's collections. This was described as a bibliographic survey by title, subject, and publication date. He pointed out that everything would be examined in the adult and children's collections, the reference/non-circulating collections, and in DRA Innovative Interface periodicals and books. Mr. Esteves noted that music books but not music scores would be surveyed and that AV materials would also not be covered in this initial phase review.

Mr. Esteves commented that the second phase of the collection assessment process would involve examining the collections from the patron's point of view. Mr. Esteves discussed how teams of three librarians would go to 32 specifically identified locations an examine what was actually on the shelves. He pointed out the materials in Brooks Hall would be included in this process. It was his expectation that this estimated six month long process would answer questions such as: how easy materials are to find; what materials are available on the shelves; and what is the age of the materials on a subject on the shelf.

The Chief of Information and Resource Management then outlined the third phase of the program as involving an in depth analysis of who library patrons were and what collections they were using. Mr. Esteves commented that questions such as: what items are on the shelf and what items are circulating, what materials patrons wanted and which they did not use; and what materials did patron want and could not find at their libraries. Mr. Esteves described the fourth phase of the process as a complete rewrite of the collection development plan. He proposed that this redrafting set plans for the next five years and that addressing weaknesses identified in the collection be a significant factor in Commission budget recommendations. The City Librarian noted that this was a very ambitious plan that was planned to be done with existing staffing. Mr. Esteves noted that other Bay Area libraries in the BALIS (Bay Area Library and Information System) would be conducting similar surveys that would facilitate both a better appreciation of the relative strengths and weaknesses of our collections, and also provide information on the strengths and weaknesses of neighboring libraries. He suggested that this information together with the development of the Golden Gateway Library network could facilitate a regional ability to focus development of collections among various kinds of libraries, maximizing the availability of materials, and allowing libraries to focus on delivering what patrons wanted.

Mr. Esteves then described aspects of the conspectus survey in detail and discussed the various ways that the data it gathered could be displayed for analysis, citing for example how materials in the collection related to the subject of Chemistry could be subdivided and analyzed by age in the collection and numbers of titles by subject by publication date. He explained further why music scores, uncatalogued materials, and AV materials would not be included in the first phase of the survey. He noted that the lack of the availability of the bibliographic analysis of the collection was a major deficiency of the 1994 Collection Development Plan.

Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #5 COLLECTION ASSESSMENT UPDATE

An anonymous member of the public observed that collection development was an area of extreme importance to the public, observed that to most members of the public the collection was of primary importance and the staff were there because of the collections, commented on the equal importance of items which circulate frequently and those which circulate less often. The anonymous member of the public noted that it was the library's role to preserve culture and that there were values more important than circulation. This individual suggested that decisions to cease buying some subjects would lobotomize the collection and that past collecting should be sustained by adding to current collections. Mr. Peter Warfield found this a worthy effort but expressed concern with use of demographic analysis to justify changing the library's collections. Mr. Warfield asked what was the ultimate objective or purpose behind such a change.

Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #5 COLLECTION ASSESSMENT UPDATE

In response to questions by Commissioner Bautista, the City Librarian noted that this process was a good tool to evaluate what the library has in its collections, identifying what is being used, and could be of major help in creating a clear analytical evaluation and good statistics showing the strengths and weaknesses of the Library's collections. Ms. Hildreth noted that this was an appropriate time for the Library to review its collections and the data gathered from this review could then form a basis to guide policy decisions on what the Library collects. Mr. Esteves suggested that this could be a two year process. Ms. Hildreth commented that the project was funded within the existing budget, that the conspectus process was already paid for, and that doing such an analysis was a normal part of staff librarians regular responsibilities. Ms. Hildreth also pointed out that this information could identify who the Library is serving and what new materials are wanted. In response to Commission questions, Ms. Hildreth then discussed how this process would impact the smaller branch library collections, noting that as a matter of necessity branch librarians had to be much more aggressive in keeping their collections current because of there size. She noted that data would be available on the branch collections as part of the survey.

In response to questions by Commissioner Chin, Mr. Esteves explained how the survey used the existing Dewey numbering system to sort materials by subject and to then further categorize the materials by publication date. Mr. Esteves further explained how the Library proposed to respond to emerging subject areas, noting that it is an ongoing balancing effort to make sure that the collections meet the needs of patrons within the limits of the budget available. In answer to a question by Commissioner Coulter, Mr. Esteves described how the Library proposed to survey both its users and also non-users by use of an Internet survey. Responding to a query by Vice President Steiman, Mr. Esteves explained that there had been no collection development plan prior to the adoption of the 1994 plan. He also reported that that process, based in part on a review of demographic information, was a result of the need to update the Library's collections in anticipation of the opening of the new Main Library. There then followed a discussion of several possible changes that could result from the information gathered. Commission Chin emphasized that the Library pay careful attention to the newly identified demographic changes in order to better serve the public. Vice President Steiman commented on the importance of preserving the Library's historical collections. Commission Chin observed that building future collections was vitally important as well. Vice President Steiman observed that at least after this process the Library would have the facts on which to base its collection development decisions. The City Librarian pointed out that this was a very large effort that would be done entirely with existing staffing. In response to a question by Commissioner Bautista, Ms. Hildreth reported that virtually the entire staff would be involved in the team effort. Vice President Steiman urged that a particular effort be made to identify and fill in materials not currently in the Library's collections. Mr. Esteves noted that this approach would take a more global view when considering additions to the collections resulting from this review process.

Agenda Item #6 FRIENDS AND FOUNDATION REPORT

Mr. Chuck Forester, Executive Director of the Friends and Foundation reported on the success of the Annual Library Laureates Dinner held on April 2, 2001. Mr. Forester expressed thanks and appreciation for the exemplary support which library staff gave in making the annual fundraising event such a big success. Mr. Forester next reported that the Friends and Foundation were making a commitment to contribute$300,000 this year in support of library programs. He also noted receipt of a $10,000 grant to support the work of the Hormel Center. Mr. Forester then discussed aspects of the planning for the Friends and Foundation Capital Campaign to be conducted in conjunction with the Prop. A Branch Library Construction and Improvement Bond (2000) program.

Public comment on comment on Agenda Item #6 FRIENDS AND FOUNDATION REPORT

An anonymous member of the public observed that the Library Laureates Dinner was a good event, but expressed the hope that no library staff had worked on the dinner while on Library time. The anonymous member of the public commented that at $300 per ticket this was an exclusive event and that it would be nice if the Library held an inclusive event as well. Mr. Chuck Forester noted that the majority of Friends and Foundation fundraising was grassroots based, pointing out the annual and very popular book sale.

Commission comment on Agenda Item #6 FRIENDS AND FOUNDATION REPORT

Commissioner Bautista noted the importance of having big-ticket events that support and honor local writers and poets and the importance of building and maintaining a consistent fundraising base.

Agenda Item #7 LIBRARY LABOR UNION REPORT

None offered

Agenda item #8 NEW BUSINESS

  • taken earlier in the agenda

Agenda item #9 PUBLIC COMMENT

An anonymous member of the public commented that new Commissioners might question the confrontational nature of comment offered to the Commission. This anonymous member of the public suggested that it was the result of people operating behind barriers and that those barriers become self-fulfilling ways of retaining power. Mr. Ed Regan requested that the Library adopt public service hours from 6AM to Midnight seven days per week, 365 days per year.

Agenda Item #10 ADJOURNMENT

MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Coulter that the meeting be adjourned.

ACTION: AYE 4-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, and Steiman)

The meeting was adjourned at 5:40PM.

Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 5/4/01

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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