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Library Commission Minutes - May 20, 2004

SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION (As approved June 17, 2004) Minutes of the regular meeting of Thursday, May 20, 2004. The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, May 20, 2004, in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library. The meeting was called to order at 4:06 p.m. The following members were present: Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, Strobin, and Steiman. Commissioner Chin joined the meeting at 4:23pm. Commissioner Streets was reported excused. President Higueras made a brief announcement that City Librarian Susan Hildreth had submitted her resignation to the Mayor in order to accept a new position as Library Director in Tucson, Arizona. Agenda Items: 1. Public Comment 2. Approval of the Minutes of April 15, 2004 3. Bond Program Manager's Report 4. Noe Valley Branch Peer Review 5. Sunset Branch Peer Review 6. ADJOURNMENT 7. APPENDIX A AGENDA ITEM #1 PUBLIC COMMENT An anonymous member of the public commented on the Library Chief of Security’s report to the Commission at the May 6th meeting. Mr. Martín Gómez, Executive Director of the Friends of the Library, lauded Ms. Hildreth’s contributions to the Library during her tenure as City Librarian. Ms. Rona Sandler, Friends of the Library, called attention the City Librarian’s vision and leadership that had significantly benefited San Francisco library users. Mr. Peter Warfield discussed the Board of Supervisors creation of a library citizen’s advisory committee and the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force’s rulings concerning his complaints again the Library. Author Peter Wiley, Friends of the Library, expressed appreciation of Ms. Hildreth’s many important contributions to the Library’s progress. Ms. Marsha Popper, Council for Neighborhood Libraries, called attention to Ms. Hildreth’s years of skilled and dedicated service that resulted in making our libraries more accessible and responsive to the community. Retired SFPL Librarian Roberto Esteves praised Ms. Hildreth as the most talented City Librarian he had worked with during his 35 years of service at the San Francisco Public Library. Library staffers Linda Greenfield and Dorothy Coakley presented Ms. Hildreth with a bouquet of flowers on behalf of Library staff praising her as the most supportive and accessible City Librarian. AGENDA ITEM #2 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF APRIL 15, 2004 Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #3 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF APRIL 15, 2004 An anonymous member of the public suggested that the Minutes were inaccurate and lacking in detail of public comment and Commissioners’ discussions. Peter Warfield commented that, while slightly improved, the Minutes left out important information, citing specific comments and detailed questions that were not reported. Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #2 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF APRIL 15, 2004 President Higueras briefly left the meeting at 4:26pm, returning at 4:38pm MOTION: Commissioner Chin, 2nd Commissioner Strobin for approval of the Minutes of the regular Commission meeting of April 15, 2004. Adopted by the following vote: AYE 5-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Strobin, and Steiman) AGENDA ITEM #3 BOND PROGRAM MANAGER’S REPORT (Presented by Branch Library Improvement Program Manager Marilyn Thompson -This is a discussion item to allow the Branch Library Bond Program Manager to report on recent bond program related activities and make announcements.) This report will consist of an informational presentation: none regular reports: program budget and schedule; active projects; and community outreach; and special reports; presentation and discussion of an update on the status of the renovation of the Marina Branch Library. Ms. Thompson noted that would be no informational presentation at the meeting and then presented the current budget and schedule of active projects, noting a change in their format to a black and white readable design, and community outreach update report (copies attached). The BLIP Manager then presented an overview of the status of of the Marina Branch Library addressing and outlining the issues resulting from existing San Francisco General Plan language related to libraries located on park properties. The BLIP Manager then discussed the point that the current facility was not sited within the boundaries granted by the Recreation and Park Commission to the Library for the Branch in 1946, and noted discussions will continue between the Recreation and Park Department and the Library with recommendations for action by the Library Commission and the Recreation and Park Commission possibly this Summer. Ms. Thompson concluded her report with an overview of a proposed Marina Branch expansion site plan (copy attached). Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #3 BOND PROGRAM MANAGER’S REPORT An anonymous member of the public found the budget and schedule reports more readable, but commented that the copies of the slides were too small. This person also inquired about toxics on the site of the proposed new Ingleside Branch, and questioned the lack of discussion of the seismic safety of the Marina Branch. Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #3 BOND PROGRAM MANAGER’S REPORT In response to Commissioners’ questions, Ms. Thompson discussed how the decision to locate the proposed expansion of the facility was made and noted that a more detailed design for the Marina Branch was not yet ready for review. In response to Commissioners’ questions, Ms. Hildreth discussed aspects of the interdepartmental talks with the Recreation and Park Department about the renovation of the Marina Branch AGENDA ITEM #4 NOE VALLEY BRANCH PEER REVIEW (The Peer Review Panel presentation consisted of an introduction by BLIP Manager Marilyn Thompson., the architects’ presentation by Ms. Nancy Goldenberg, Senior Vice President Carey & Co. Inc. Architecture, a Library response to the proposed design by Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood, and concluded with the expert Peer Panel discussion evaluation and critique by Pamela Anderson Brule, Anderson Brule Architects, Mr. Gerald Takano, TBA West, and Sylvia Kwan, Kwan Henmi Architecture/Planning) Presentation of and discussion of a peer review of proposed designs for the Noe Valley Branch Library. Ms. Thompson began the Peer Review of proposed designs for the Noe Valley Library discussing the project’s $4.2 million budget and the special challenges of renovation of this historic “Carnegie” Branch Library. Architect Nancy Goldenberg followed with a detailed presentation outlining the several design concepts for the Noe Valley Branch Library that had been explored to arrive at the proposed design. Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood followed the architect’s presentation with the Library’s response to the proposed design lauding the proposal as having exceeded expectations in doing complex seismic safety improvements that preserved the historic architecture and provided an upgraded multi-use room. Peer Panel member Mr. Gerald Takano, TBA West, presented his comments based on his visit to the branch on May 10th focusing on the historical integrity of the design. Then Peer Panel member Pamela Anderson Brule, Anderson Brule Architects, presented her review and design critique. Ms. Sylvia Kwan, Kwan Henmi Architecture/Planning concluded the Peer Panel review with comments focused largely on the building’s proposed interior designs. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #5 NOE VALLEY BRANCH PEER REVIEW Ms. Debra Neiman, Friends of Noe Valley, commended Library’s design process as having included and responded to the desires of the community. Ms. Neiman noted that Carey & Co., as respected preservation architects, had the confidence of the community and would do a truly great design. Ms. Neiman also suggested renovating and reusing the original library tables. Ms. Gerheart agreed that the community was fortunate in the choice of the architect but questioned why a solar energy installation was not considered. An anonymous member of the public found the proposed renovation of this historic library located in a very active community interesting, but expressed concern if the proposed disabled exterior access from outside would meet the needs of disabled users Mr. Peter Warfield expressed approval of the architect’s sensitivity and asked: would there be more space for books; if the furniture would be replaced; and questioned the proposed combination of circulation and reference functions. Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #5 NOE VALLEY BRANCH PEER REVIEW President Higueras thanked the architects for having such a thorough process in arriving at the final building design and suggested that the project with such a good beginning could only get better. In response to a question from Commissioner Bautista, it was reported that the Noe Valley Branch, while using green systems and sustainable design whenever possible, had no source of funding for and would not be a good candidate for a solar installation. The Commission’s discussions centered on how this traditional Carnegie branch library could be seismically strengthened while respecting its historic fabric. Vice President Steiman suggested re-orienting the proposed entry area for the restrooms and installing security cameras to provide better security. The improved lighting design and plans to reuse some original furniture were applauded. Commissioner Coulter called attention to good and the inclusive process that resulted in this design. Commissioner Chin left the meeting at 6:08pm. AGENDA ITEM #5 SUNSET BRANCH PEER REVIEW (The Peer Review Panel presentation consisted of an introduction by BLIP Manager Marilyn Thompson., the architects’ presentation by Anne Fougeron and Bassel Samaha of Fougeron Architecture, a Library response to the proposed design by Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood, and concluded with the expert Peer Panel discussion evaluation and critique by Pamela Anderson Brule, Anderson Brule Architects, Mr. Gerald Takano, TBA West, and Sylvia Kwan, Kwan Henmi Architecture/Planning) Presentation of and discussion of a peer review of proposed designs for the renovation of the Sunset Library. Ms. Thompson began the Peer Review of proposed designs for the 1917 Sunset Library discussing the project’s $1.4 million budget, noting that seismic strengthening and ADA improvements had been done with funding from a previous bond program. The Branch Library Improvement Program Manager contrasted the degree of difficultly of renovation at this largely intact original design “Carnegie” Branch Library with the more challenging task at the Noe Valley Branch. Architect Anne Fougeron followed with a detailed presentation that began with a discussion of steps that she recommended be taken to remove clutter and increase the visibility of books as one entered the branch as well as restore the grandeur of the reading Rooms. Ms Fougeron’s design proposed several changes in book drops, service desks and creation of a teen area to increase functionality of both the upper and lower levels of the Sunset Library to provide for more book shelving and computers. Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood presented the Library’s response to the recommended design and noted that the addition of the ground floor program room, the re-organized staff work areas, improved restroom access and increases in book shelving and computers while maintaining and improving seating met the library’s goals for the renovation. Mr. Gerald Takano, TBA West, also found it useful to contrast this much simpler project, with the seismic and ADA requirements already done, with the more difficult design challenges of the Noe Valley Branch, Mr. Takano approved of the proposed design’s restoration of the open feeling and symmetry of the original largely intact “Carnegie” rooms with the more central circulation desk and shift of back-of –house staff functions. Mr. Takano applauded the planned use of sympathetic contemporary lighting fixtures as both aesthetically and practically useful. He called attention to security concerns and the issue of the elevator access between the floors being outside the lower level secured area, suggesting shifting the security gate and making sure restroom sight lines remained open. Peer Panelist Pamela Anderson Brule, Anderson Brule Architects, found the proposed restoration of the upper level an improvement and urged careful consideration of how materials would circulate within the building, recommending creation of one exterior book drop that would drop into a staff work area. Ms. Anderson Brule recommended more access to books in the entry areas and lauded planned availability of both a teen and adult computer use area. Ms. Anderson Brule also recommended shifting the lower level security gates and adding a downstairs book drop in the glazed wall beside the circulation desk near the doorway and access to the elevator. Ms. Sylvia Kwan, Kwan Henmi Architecture/Planning again largely focused her critique on the building’s proposed interior designs, noting that the Sunset Library was a particularly good candidate maximizing planning for long-term flexibility of uses, Ms. Kwan also approved of the proposed use of contemporary pendant and task lighting and of the design’s efforts to mitigate the basement-like feel of the lower level. Regarding the furniture, she noted that as there were very few original items left, the new furniture should be of a sympathetic durable contemporary design with similar types used both upstairs and downstairs. Commissioner Coulter left the meeting during the Peer Review Panel. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #6 SUNSET LIBRARY PEER REVIEW An anonymous member of the public questioned why such a recently renovated branch was being done so early in the Bond Program and recalled a controversy concerning water damage during the 1992 renovation. The person also expressed concern about security and congestion problems at the lower level elevator entry. Mr. Peter Warfield suggested that the lower level security gate placement was not correct and applauded efforts to make books more visible and the circulation desk and the role of librarians more visibly central in the branch. Mr. Warfield expressed concern with the placement of the lower level desk; questioned the proposed self-check out and reserve materials pick up area; and urged retaining at minimum the current book count. Ms. Rosemary Bassey, a Sunset Library user, applauded the restoration of symmetry in the upper level adult areas but expressed concern that the proposed teen area could disturb the adult reading areas. Ms. Bassey suggested that a stable book collection in the library was more important to her than computer access. Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #6 SUNSET LIBRARY PEER REVIEW Commissioner Bautista noted that this was a very busy branch and that the proposed design did much to alleviate its cluttered congested appearance. In response to her suggestion that the Teen Area be moved downstairs to the Children’s Services area, it was reported that the teen users wanted to be included adjacent to adult areas. Commissioner Bautista noted that increased security and perhaps more artwork were needed in the lower level. Vice President Steiman approved of the restoration of the openness of the upper level and its grouping of differing uses in different corners of the building. President Higueras recalled using the Sunset Library when he was growing up. He approved of the efforts to tie both levels of the building together by design and expressed regret that nothing could be done to redesign the 1992 elevator installation. President Higueras proposed that the security problem with the lower level elevator entry be resolved by redesigning the lobby area. He also recommended moving the book drop so that materials dropped into a staff area and asked if space for bicycles and stroller parking had been considered. The Commission President also agreed with the suggestion that book displays be moved closer to the entry areas as was suggested by the Peer Panel. President Higueras concluded by expressing the Commission’s thanks and appreciation to the Peer Review panelists Pamela Anderson Brule, Anderson Brule Architects, Mr. Gerald Takano, TBA West, and Sylvia Kwan, Kwan Henmi Architecture/Planning for their participation in the Library’s effort to maintain the highest standards of design excellence in Branch Library Improvement program projects. ADJOURNMENT MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista , 2nd by Vice President Steiman that the meeting be adjourned In Memoriam of the late San Francisco Poet Thomas Gunn, who had recently passed away. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM # 6 ADJOURNMENT An anonymous member of the public called the Commissioners’ attention to the passing of Thomas Gunn, a San Francisco resident for 53 years and internationally renowned poet and U.C. Berkeley Professor, suggesting that the meeting be adjourned in his memory. There being no further business before the Commission the meeting was adjourned at 8:01 pm in memory of the late Thomas Gunn. ACTION: AYE 4-0 (Bautista, Higueras, Strobin, and Steiman) Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 5/25/04 as revs’d. 6/10/04 Please note: Minutes are 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: Noe Valley Branch Library FAQs (PDF 41K) Proposed Noe Valley Branch Library renovation floor plans (PDF 521K) Sunset Library FAQs (PDF 41K) Sunset Library renovation floor plans (PDF 171K) Branch Library Improvement Program (BLIP) Manager’s Report notes Branch Library Improvement Program Schedule 2/19/04 (PDF 155K) Branch Library Improvement Program Budget 5/20/04 (PDF 72K) Minutes of the Library Commission Meeting May 20, 2004 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. The number of members of the public who spoke anonymously at this meeting. 1 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).