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Library Commission Minutes - January 07, 2003

SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION Minutes of the regular meeting of Thursday, January 07, 2003. (As approved amended February 04, 2003) The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library. President Higueras called the meeting to order at 4:07PM. The following members were noted present: Commissioners Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, Streets, and Strobin. Commissioner Chin joined the meeting at 4:15PM. Commissioner Bautista was excused attendance. Agenda Items: 1. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE DECEMBER 03, 2002 COMMISSION MEETING 2. CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT 3. LIBRARY 2003/04 BUDGET REPORT 4. MAIN LIBRARY PLAQUES 5. ELECTION OF COMMISSION OFFICERS FOR 2003 6. FRIENDS & FOUNDATION REPORT 7. LABOR UNION REPORT 8. NEW BUSINESS 9. PUBLIC COMMENT 10. ADJOURNMENT 11. APPENDIX A AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE DECEMBER 3, 2002 MINUTES Public comment: An anonymous member of the public found the Minutes were eviscerated of meaning, cited a mis-spelling, and further discussed the portion of the December 3, 2002 Minutes concerning an alleged mis-representation of another’s views. This person additionally noted omission of a criticism of use of library staff to offer library discards for sale to the benefit of the Friends & Foundation. Mr. Warfield found the minutes lacking on a number of points, calling particular attention to the omission of comments about reported concerns with a lack of space for books in branch libraries. Commission discussion: President Higueras recalled that the anonymous member of the public had criticized library staff’s role in the sale of discards and asked that it be reported in the Minutes. Motion: by Commissioner Steiman, seconded Commissioner Chin by for approval of the Minutes of December 3, 2002 as amended. Action: AYE 6-0 (Chin, Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, Streets, and Strobin) AGENDA ITEM #2 CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT City Librarian Susan Hildreth presented a report on joint SFPL and Asian Art Museum co-sponsored New Year’s Eve ceremonial ringing of an antique Japanese Bell. Ms. Hildreth then provided additional information concerning the December 19th meeting of the Prop. 14 State Library Bond Board meeting, lauding State Librarian Kevin Starr’s staunch but ultimately unsuccessful support for including the Excelsior Branch Library’s application in the 1st cycle of Prop. 14 grants. The City Librarian next provided an update on recent Exhibits and programs calling attention to an exhibit "The Long March to Freedom" honoring 12 civil rights leaders and an exhibit "Freedom in the US" open in the Skylight Gallery in conjunction with a PBS series of the same title. The City Librarian then called attention to a January 12th program honoring writers who died in 2002and a series of children’s events featuring lion dancers marking the beginning of the observance of Chinese New Year. Ms. Hildreth then discussed an Urban Libraries Council Executive Leadership Institute Grant that would facilitate a re-examination of the library’s collection development process if awarded. The City Librarian next reported the reopening of the Golden Gate Valley Branch on January 30th, with festivities in honor of the reopening to be held on February 8th. Ms. Hildreth reported on the library staff’s very successful participation in the recent Friends & Foundation Friday book sale with San Francisco, California, and Chinese books being the most popular. The City Librarian reported that the books sold for $1. 00 and .50, with children’s’ books at .25. Public comment: An anonymous member of the public criticized the Library’s co-sponsorship of the Japanese Bell ringing ceremony and found the bell ringing obtrusive for those using the Library. Mr. Peter Warfield commented that he would prefer that the Library give away rather than sell discards. Mr. Warfield also discussed objections to the Friends & Foundation leases. Commission discussion: President Higueras remarked that he had only just joined that Board of the Urban Libraries Council but that he looked forward to taking part in their deliberations and learning from other members’ experience. President Higueras noted that he would be attending their Mid-Winter gathering held in conjunction with the American Library Association (ALA) Mid-Winter Meeting in Philadelphia in late January. AGENDA ITEM #3 LIBRARY 2003/04 BUDGET REPORT (Explanatory document: FY 2003-04 Budget report) Library Finance Director George Nichols gave a detailed presentation and overview of the proposed FY 2003/04 Library Budget, (copy attached), and highlighted three recommendations that he requested the Commission to consider and approve. Mr. Nichols requested the Commissioners approve the proposed $55.125 million baseline 2003/04 Budget, including a $1.117 million contingency fund. Mr. Nichols requested that the Commission approve$1.417 million in identified Library Preservation Fund one-time annualized expenditures. Mr. Nichols then requested that the Commissioners’ approve a plan for $1.6 million in contingency budget reductions prepared in accordance with the Mayor’s instructions that each City department prepare and submit separately a plan for a 5% reduction of its General Fund Budget. The Library Finance Director reported that revenues were better than had been expected resulting in a $1.6 million increase in funds available to the Library under Prop. E (Library Preservation Fund). Mr. Nichols noted that this meant that there would be no reductions in this year’s budget, no cuts in the baseline 2003/04 budget and the possibility for additional augmentations to the budget later in the Spring when new revenues figures become available. This he noted would allow existing library programs and services to continue next year with only minor adjustments. Mr. Nichols then outlined the proposed one-time annualized Library Preservation Fund expenditures. The Library’s Finance Director then presented an extensive overview of the 5% contingency General Fund Budget reduction plan mandated by the Mayor. The Finance Director pointed out that the priorities were to maintain services, maintain facilities, maintain the book budget, minimize position cuts, and increase efficiency. Mr. Nichols noted that this proposal would only be implemented if there were a drastic fall in revenues and noted that the reductions were thoughtfully targeted not just an across the board cut. The Library Finance Director then provided an overview of the next steps in the city’s budget process. City Librarian Susan Hildreth commended Mr. Nichols and the Library’s Division chiefs for their hard work and skillful contributions in developing the proposed budget. Ms. Hildreth suggested that there was reasonable hope that the 5% contingency reduction would not have to be put into effect. Public comment: Anonymous member of the public opined that the majority of the presentation focused on an hypothetical contingency not likely to occur and suggested that more information on the proposed one-time expenditures would be more useful. This person then called attention to the solicitation of letters of support for continued funding for the Tool Lending Center and wondered if similar notice had been provided to Tool Center opponents. Mr. Peter Warfield found the 3% increase in Library funds good news, noted that the proposal outlined priorities for reduction but complained that there was limited time to review the information as explanatory documents were not mailed out with the agenda. Mr. Warfield questioned use of the Library Preservation Fund for one-time expenditures and suggested that its priorities were for more books and hours. Mr. Tim West SEIU, Local 790, commented that the Library was trying to do a good job and that that was appreciated but that there were issues regarding Library staff and Pages that must be addressed. Commission discussion: Vice President Steiman expressed relief that there would be no need for budget cuts and found that the proposed contingency plan prioritized budget reductions in about the best way that they could be done. In response to questions by Commissioner Streets regarding the proposed reduced funding for deferred maintenance, Mr. Nichols noted that the Branch Library Improvement Bond Program would replace the need for some maintenance needs since the upgraded buildings would not initially need significant maintenance attention. Mr. Nichols also noted that consideration was being given to leasing rather than purchasing PCs as a way to reduce costs as any maintenance would become part of the lease. President Higueras noted that moving ongoing expenses into the baseline budget would protect reserves. Mr. Nichols noted that the Library had been using reserved funds for one time capital improvements. In answer to questions by Vice President Steiman, Mr. Nichols noted that the branch telephone system upgrades were being completed and that this was year 2 of 3 in the ILS (Integrated Library System) payout. Ms. Hildreth noted that the Library was able to fund a possible COLA from contingency funds, a unique situation not shared by other City departments. Mr. Nichols noted while it was prudent to set aside funds for a COLA that Mayor Brown had clearly indicated that there were no funds available for salary increases this year. In response to a comment by Commissioner Chin, Mr. Nichols confirmed that these issues were addressed in citywide labor contracts. In answer to questions by Commissioner Streets regarding what if the reductions were less than 5%, Mr. Nichols pointed out that the reductions were ranked in order of priority and could be made up to whatever % reduction was needed. Motion: by Vice President Steiman, seconded by Commissioner Coulter to approve the proposed 2003/04 budget. Action: AYE 6-0 (Chin, Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, Streets, and Strobin) Motion: by Commissioner Streets, seconded by Commissioner Strobin to approve the proposed Library Preservation Fund Allocations. Action: AYE 6-0 (Chin, Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, Streets, and Strobin) Motion: by Vice President Steiman, seconded by Commissioner Streets to approve the proposed Contingency 5% Budget Reduction Plan. Action: AYE 6-0 (Chin, Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, Streets, and Strobin) President Higueras next called Agenda item #7 the Union Report to be taken up out of order and to be heard next. AGENDA ITEM #7 LABOR UNION REPORT Mr. Timothy West, Field Representative, Service Employees International Union called the Commissioner’s attention to the situation facing Library pages in the wake of a City Department of Human Services ruling enforcing a City Charter provision which limited hours and thereby eliminated Pages’ eligibility to receive vacation, sick leave, and healthcare benefits. Mr. West noted that Pages were more than book shelvers and could be seen as the backbone of the institution. He additionally pointed out that while they were classified as "temporary", a description he noted the union was fighting, many in fact had worked for the Library for many years. Mr. West recounted some of the background regarding the Department of Human Resources ruling that led to the current situation and reported that the union would challenge Pages’ classification as temporary as they were in fact regular part time workers rather than seasonal as needed employees. Mr. West commented that the Library did not want to take away hours and benefits for Pages but may be forced to do so by the ruling. Public comment: Carol Diamond, an Ortega Branch Page, commented that she had worked for the Library for four years doing a wide variety of jobs not just shelving. Ms. Diamond noted that San Francisco promotes a living wage, that Pages had been granted benefits, and that it was wrong to take them away. Ms. Cathy Bremer, Librarian’s Guild Steward, commented that Pages were a critical job classification that enabled the Library to maintain public services. Ms. Bremer noted that this was not a budget issue but a bureaucratic issue, called attention to the cost of buying out the vacation hours already earned, and suggested that any cost saving could not balance the impact on services. Ms. Bremer concluded by noting the importance of Pages to librarians and to the public. Mr. Vince Fernandez, a Marina Branch Page, commented that he had been offered more hours than the minimum needed for benefits and noted that it was unfair for temporary workers to get no benefits. Ms. Andrea Grimes, Librarian and union officer, commented that Pages are needed that Pages do many difficult tasks such as translation. Ms. Grimes then called attention to the important role pages had played in the move into the Main Library and cited work on inventory and cataloging, creation of databases, their public and non-public service work, as well as support for Automation and Technical Services. Ms. Grimes found it ironic that the City required contractors to pay benefits while denying them to Pages. Ms. Catherine Bernard, Library for the Blind Page, described the many important jobs Pages performed to make materials available to blind users, noting she did not view her job as temporary, and that to describe it so was both obsolete and disrespectful. Ms. Vicky Susoev, Excelsior Branch Library Technician II, observed that Pages worked regular schedules, and that many had gone on to become librarians. Ms. Susoev called attention to Pages’ work with the bi-lingual public and remarked they were not temporary and that all Pages should have benefits. Ms. Mary Spooner, a Main Library Page for three years, commented that pages were not temporary, and that many moved on into the profession. Ms. Spooner pointed out they were not just students doing shelving but also did other tasks. An unnamed employee called attention to the Library Employee Handbook’s Code of Ethics mandate that employees be treated with respect and urged that pages not be split into two tiers. Ms. Mya Archer Doyle, a Main Library Page for one and one half-year pointed out that Pages did the dirtiest jobs in the Library and that to ask them to do so without benefits would be a crime. She pointed out that book shelvers deserved recognition and that hiring people without health benefits meant that people who were sick would be forced to work exposing other staff to illness. Luca, a 3 year Main Library Page noted that the 291 pages constituted 40% of the Library’s staff and that their job title should not disqualify them for benefits as they did many jobs in the Main and branches to help the Library. She felt their loyalty and dedication went without recognition, called attention to the health risks of forcing people who were ill to work, and also noted the City policies that required benefits for employees of companies doing business with the City. Mr. Brian Quinn, a 7 year Main Library Page, commented that he had used sick leave to take care of dental problems and that he had always do a variety of work, been nominated for staff recognition awards, and done extensive web page development, production of handouts, desktop publishing, collection analysis, and was not just a shelver. An anonymous member of the public cited William Rameriz, who rose from Page to Chief of the Main Library. This person commented on the practice of offering increased benefits by reducing the numbers of those getting benefits, finding such a trade-off of budget values vs. human values never worth it. Librarian Tom Tavis, commented that he had begun as a Page and had always worked a regular schedule with benef its provided. Mr. Tavis noted that Pages do far more than shelve and do very heavy work. Mr. Tavis additionally discussed the various kinds of benefits received among different groups of Pages, citing 90 with health benefits, and noted all work regular schedules doing dangerous work. Mr. Peter Warfield found Pages helpful to library users, called attention to the difficulty of living in San Francisco on a part time salary, and commented that fairness and decency dictated that health benefits be provided. Poesy, a North Beach Branch user commented that shelving was only one of the jobs that Pages did and called attention to help with bi-lingual users and the hard physical labor they provided to the library. She noted the expense of paying one’s own health insurance and remarked that the public did not think of Pages as only book shelvers but had offered letters of commendation for services provided by Pages. Commission discussion: Deputy City Attorney Catharine Barnes reported that as there had been no notice of the issues raised in public comment offered on the Labor Union Report in the meeting agenda that the Commission could not discuss it. President Higueras commented that the public comment offered provided the Commissioners with an understanding of the human dimension of the issue and proposed to agendize a future discussion of the matter. President Higueras called a brief recess at 6:26PM The meeting resumed at 6:40PM AGENDA ITEM #4 MAIN LIBRARY PLAQUES Commissioner Coulter gave a brief presentation provided background regarding the many recent efforts to honor those who had contributed greatly to the San Francisco Public Library. Commissioner Coulter pointed out the lack of due attention to those who labored as volunteers for decades to strengthen the entire library system and build a new Main Library. Commissioner Coulter proposed that the Commission consider dedicating the Main Library to the spirit of civic leadership embodied by the work of these great individuals rather than singling out one person to be honored. Commissioner Coulter noted that the designated ceremonial entry, the Larkin Street entrance of the Library, currently unused could be transformed with the help of the Main Library’s Associate Architects SMWM into a Hall of Library Heroes. Commissioner Coulter proposed two sets of dedicatory plaques be created with support from the Friends & Foundation and design assistance from SMWM. One plaque would salute the work of the three M’s, Marjorie Stern, Mary Louise Stong, and Mig Mayer, who spearheaded decades of civic efforts to strengthen the library system and to build the Main Library. The second plaque would present the history of the San Francisco Public Library prepared with the help of famed local author and library historian Peter Wiley. Commissioner Coulter noted that this concept was timely as there had been a proposal that the Main Library be named in honor of Marjorie Stern, and recalled that Mary Louise Stong had passed away last year without any special recognition of her contributions. Public comment: An anonymous member of the public commented that a great many people had contributed to the library and found the list of to those be recognized not inclusive. This individual suggested that the Library had already honored those who contributed, noting that the late Mel Swig had declined having the Main Library named in his honor. This person remarked that the name public library was enough and wondered how "contribution" would be defined. Ms. Sue Cauthen, Council for Neighborhood Libraries, lauded the dedication of the late Mary Louise Stong, noting the Stong Room in the Main Library, and calling attention to her opposition to closing branch libraries. Mr. Peter Wiley, author and member of the Friends & Foundation Board, found the proposal a great idea calling attention to the fact that a great library grows from an active citizenry. Mr. Wiley recalled that after 45 years of "dark ages" with little support for libraries these people stepped forward and would not take "no" for an answer until the Library received the public support it needed to serve the community. Ms. Deborah Doyle, Library BALIS representative and President of the Friends & Foundation commented that the proposal honors the very many people at the principle entrance of the Main Library. Ms. Doyle lauded the overdue recognition of the three "M’s" women of strong mind whose work was critical to the success of the library. Ms. Doyle noted that this proposal provided for future expansion of those to be honored and reported that the Friends & Foundation would provide support for he project. Mr. Peter Warfield wondered how all of the many items in the library’s collections were obtained and urged consideration be given to honor all of those who contribute. Mr. Warfield felt the public, high and low should be recognized for their support for the library. Commission discussion Vice President Steiman recalled the inspiration and encouragement that Marjorie Stern and Mary Louse Stong had given to her that led to her work in support of the library. Vice President Steiman noted that they were inclusive and willing to bring in all those whose dream was to create better libraries. Vice President Steiman, however, expressed reservations concerning using the Larkin Street entry area for this purpose. She suggested it might be used as a cloakroom, something she felt had been needed ever since the Main Library lockers had to be closed because of behavior problems of some members of the public. Commissioner Strobin observed that this space might work as a ceremonial entry but that further study was needed. Commission Chin felt that this was a good idea and it was appropriate to honor long and passionate devotion to our libraries. Commission Chin noted that Marjorie Stern was also very active in support of education. Commissioner Coulter proposed to further refine his proposal and bring it and possible models of the space back to the Commission for further consideration. President Higueras remarked that great libraries rise from committed passionate citizenry, noting the more than 70% support for approval of Prop. A. President Higueras further pointed out that the Library could not have succeeded without the support and appreciation of generations of dedicated San Franciscans. He felt the proposal had great merit and could with the addition of images and photographs provide an opportunity to richly illustrate the Library’s past. Commissioner Streets thanked Commission Coulter for his hard work in developing the concept and cited the importance to honor those whose efforts were so essential to the success of the Library. AGENDA ITEM #5 ELECTION OF COMMISSION OFFICERS FOR 2003 The Commission Secretary outlined the process for conducting the election of Commission officers and reported the nominations of President Charles Higueras and Vice President Carol Steiman to continue in office for 2003. No additional nominations were brought forward. Motion: by Commissioner Streets, seconded by Commissioner Strobin to elect Commissioner Charles A. Higueras, President, and Commissioner Carol Steiman, Vice President of the San Francisco Public Library Commission for 2003 Public commment: An anonymous member of the public commended the enthusiasm of the Commissioners to serve. Commission action: Action: AYE 6-0 (Chin, Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, Streets, and Strobin) Vice President Steiman thanked her fellow Commissioners for their expression of confidence in her. President Higueras noted that this Commission was entering the home stretch of its tenure in office with much yet to get done. President Higueras recalled the past seven years as exciting and eventful and promised to make every effort to leave no issues raised by Commissioners unaddressed by the end of this year. President Higueras also proposed to finalize a strategic plan, and take steps to institutionalize best practices for the Branch Library Improvement Bond Program. AGENDA ITEM #6 FRIENDS & FOUNDATION REPORT Ms. Deborah Doyle, President of the Friends & Foundation reminded the Commissioners of the January 14 Annual Meeting of the Friend & Foundation. Ms. Doyle then reported on the changes in the Friends and Foundation officers and board members and informed the Commission that the Friends & Foundation Board had approved a branch Library Capital Campaign Plan and would be bringing it to the Library for its consideration. Ms. Doyle informed the Commissioners of the passing of Dr. Arthur Coleman, a longtime friend of libraries, San Francisco civic leader, and a leader in the African American Community with memorial services planned for March 3, 2003. The President of the Friends & Foundation announced the creation of an endowment honor Dr. Coleman. Ms. Doyle reported that the Board of Supervisors had approved the friends & Foundation leases and reminded the Commissioners to mark April 4th, the date of the Annual Laureates Dinner. Public comment: None offered AGENDA ITEM #8 NEW BUSINESS None offered. AGENDA ITEM #9 PUBLIC COMMENT An anonymous member of the public continued previous remarks concerning the Fuhrman Fund. This individual further commented that received wisdom can be challenged and noted the importance of protecting the right of anonymity. Mr. Warfield commented that the leases had been approved after the Board of Supervisors had made changes. Mr. Warfield then discussed a Planning Commission meeting that had addressed issues related to the new Glen Park Branch, noting that two Commissioners had spoken. Ms. Pat Sawyer, Manager of the Tool Lending Center, expressed appreciation to the Commission for continuing funding for the Center and called attention to the 3,000 users of the Tool Center and to the savings it provided to members of the public who used it. Ms. Sawyer reported that the Tool Center would expand its educational role in the next years. AGENDA ITEM #10 ADJOURNMENT Motion: by Commissioner Streets, seconded by Commissioner a that the meeting be adjourned In Memoriam of the late Dr. Arthur Coleman, a respected and beloved physician, civic and community leader, and a great friend and patron of San Francisco’s public libraries, and a Founder of the Main Library’s African American Affinity Center. Commissioner Fran Streets lauded Dr. Coleman’s decades of services as a physician, civic, and community leader, calling particular attention to his great love and support for the Library. Commissioner Streets pointed out that Dr. Coleman was the first Chair of the African American Affinity Center and that he had raised more than $500,000 for the Library. Action: AYE 6-0 (Chin, Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, Streets, and Strobin) The meeting was adjourned at 7:30PM Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 2/5/03 Please note: Copies of Commission Minutes and handouts are available in the Office of the Commission Secretary, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 Copies of Public Comment Summary Statements as authorized by San Francisco Administrative Code Section 67.16 can be found in Appendix A. These summary statements are provided by the speaker and their contents are neither generated by, nor subject to approval or verification of accuracy by, the San Francisco Public Library Commission. Appendix A Library Commission meeting of January 7, 2003 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 Public comment available for viewing in PDF format City Librarian’s Report – January 7, 2003 The Library was happy to welcome its new neighbor, the Asian Art Museum, in co-sponsoring the ceremonial Japanese Bell Ringing on New Year’s Eve. The Asian will open on March 20, 2003. On December 19th, the second Cycle 1 meeting of the Proposition 14 Bond Act Board was held in Sacramento. Five projects were funded – 3 in San Diego, 1 in San Leandro, 1 in Visalia in the Central Valley, total of $19 million, with the balance of the $150 million for Cycle 1, $775,000, going to Cycle 3. Dr. Starr recommended the Excelsior renovation along with Redding and one of the San Diego projects. The Board had very difficult decisions to make. We anticipate that the Richmond renovation and expansion will be a strong project in Cycle 2. The Library has applied to participate in the ULC Executive Leadership Institute, which will provide focused leadership training to a manager and librarian who will cooperate on a project in the library. Paul Underwood, Deputy City Librarian and Shellie Cocking, Office of Children and Youth Services Electronic Services Librarian will be the SFPL team. Announcements of participants will be made in late January. Participation costs will be supported by the Friends & Foundation. The Library and the San Francisco History Museum have received an LSTA grant of about $65,000 to support a partnership in the new San Francisco History Museum at the Wharf, the new home of the Musee Mecanique. The focus of the exhibition with be the history of public amusements in San Francisco. There will be an exhibit in the new space and an online exhibit in the San Francisco History center at the Main Library later this year The Library successfully participated in the Friends & Foundation monthly Larkin St. book sale on Friday, January 3. Approximately four book trucks of materials were made available for sale to the public, including California and San Francisco special interest as well as Chinese materials. Golden Gate Valley Branch will reopen after its closure for electrical upgrades on January 30, with a reopening celebration on Saturday, February 8, 2003.