SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION
Minutes of the regular meeting of Thursday, March 20, 2003.
(As approved amended April 17, 2003)
The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, March 20, 2003 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.
President Higueras called the meeting to order at 4:05 PM.
The following members were noted present: Commissioners Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, and Strobin. Commissioner Streets was excused and Commissioner Chin’s arrival was expected to be delayed.
1. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE FEBRUARY 20, 2003 COMMISSION MEETING
2. 190 -9th STREET IMPROVEMENTS
3. 2003/04 BUDGET
4. EXCELSIOR BRANCH DESIGN REVIEW
5. PUBLIC COMMENT
7. APPENDIX A
AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE FEBRUARY 20, 2003 COMMISSION MEETING
An anonymous member of the public raised questions concerning corrections to the December 19th Minutes finding there had been no correction of a cited grammatical error or clarification called for in Commissioner Coulter’s comments about this person’s remarks about Martin Paley. Mr. Ed Regan found his remarks were accurately reported. Mr. Peter Warfield found the Minutes lacking in several areas citing his page 9 comment concerning the lack of availability of explanatory documents and in particular that the public review copy of the Richmond Prop. 14 Application did not include all of the documents; he also suggested that members of the public who had requested copies had not received the materials made available to the Commissioners, citing comments by the City Librarian.
The City Librarian asked for a clarification of her reported reference to a copy of the Richmond Branch Prop. 14 Application being available in the rear of the auditorium for public review to clarify that a public review binder of the application and the Needs Assessment, the Plan of Service, and the Building Program was available at the rear of the auditorium and the full application and supporting documents were available in the Library Commission Office for public inspection. Commissioner Coulter suggested that in order to make the revised Minuets less confusing that amendments be made in such a way as to clearly identify any changes.
Motion: Commissioner Steiman, seconded by Commissioner Strobin that the February 20, 2002 Minutes be approved as amended.
Action: AYE 5-0 (Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, and Strobin)
AGENDA ITEM #2 190 -9th STREET IMPROVEMENTS
City Librarian Susan Hildreth presented a report (copy attached) on needed improvements to the 190-9th Street Support Services Center prior to move in by library staff. Ms. Hildreth recounted a brief background of its acquisition, noted that it would be used by the City’s Department of Employee Relations until June 30, and highlighted the needed changes identified by Philip Sowers, Department of Public Works, Bureau of Architecture working with Library Chief of Technical Services Vivian Pisano, in collaboration with library consultants Diane Mayo and Foxie Mason. Ms. Hildreth called attention to the creation of a loading dock on Washburn Alley and the proposed reconfiguration of 1st floor spaces and the creation of additional offices on the 2nd and 3rd floors. She noted that the Bureau of Architecture would address the exterior work and interiors would be done by Tom Elliot Fisch, a local design firm. The City Librarian informed the Commission that the schematic designs should be completed later in the Spring; with construction beginning this Summer; and move in late in 2003 or early 2004 after the completion of migration to the new integrated library system was completed.
Commissioner Chin joined the meeting at 4:20PM
Ms. Hildreth reviewed the proposed reallocation of the remaining $577, 408 appropriated from the Library improvement Fund for a 2nd floor bridge in the Main Library proposed in the POE but not recommended by staff. The City Librarian reported staff recommended use of these available funds rather than the expenditure of any additional branch bond program funds on this facility. Ms. Hildreth noted that the Controller’s Office recommended that notification of the change be made to the CIAC (Capital Improvement Advisory Committee).
An anonymous member of the public wondered about the original costs estimates for using this building, and expressed concern about using operating funds to save bond money. Mr. Peter Warfield commented that the POE consultant had found creating a 2nd floor bridge crucial, noting the difficulty in accessing the Children’s Center, and questioned using operating budget funds.
In response to a question concerning the project management costs by Vice President Steiman, President Higueras noted that on small projects the management costs were often a larger percent of costs because the same amount of work was needed for both large and small projects but the scope of work on larger projects made those costs a small percent of the total. Mr. Sowers explained in further detail exactly what was included in these costs. In response to additional questions by Vice President Steiman, the City Librarian noted that a review and solid cost estimate were underway for the remaining 1st floor work and that there were unencumbered additional funds remaining to apply to those projects. Ms. Hildreth noted that the recently approved signage improvements would make a significant difference in way finding and that consideration was being given to making the elevators accessible from the Larkin and Fulton Street doors on the 2nd floor without the need for a bridge. In response to a question by Commissioner Bautista, Ms. Hildreth outlined the process staff had used to reconsider that approach and choose others. President Higueras asked if any additional funding would be needed to prepare 190-9th Street for use and was informed by the City Librarian that no additional funding needs were likely. Ms. Hildreth then summarized the bond expenditures planned for and used for acquisition of the building and noted that as all planned branch bond funds were expended it was the better course to fund as needed improvements, as has often been done with other library facilities, from the Library Improvement Fund and the operating budget. In response to a question by President Higueras, "why not use bond budget reserves"? Ms. Hildreth noted that as no Prop 14 (State Library Bond) monies had yet been received; it would be prudent in these early days of the Bond Program to preserve budget reserves to insure that sufficient funds remained available. In response to President Higueras question, "is there less impact from using operating funds instead of Bond Program funds"? The City Librarian responded, "yes". In answer to a question by Commissioner Chin concerning details of the 190-9th Street renovations, Mr. Sowers discussed in detail what would be needed in terms of demolition, creating and rearranging use of spaces, electrical and mechanical rearrangement and creation of new offices on the 2nd and 3rd floors to make most efficient use of the building for the Library. Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood reported that the first floor would require resurfacing for use in book handling and noted that perhaps not as many office spaces might be needed resulting in some costs saving on the project.
Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood noted that staff planned to use the existing furnishings and only buy what was necessary and that an analysis being prepared by Tom Elliot Fisch would make what would be needed clear. The City Librarian noted that the building’s nearly new furnishings had been purchased for $50,000 and could be used in place or in other facilities as found to be useful. She emphasized that cost savings would be pursued whenever possible.
Motion: Commissioner Steiman, seconded by Commissioner Strobin that the proposed reallocation of $577, 408 from the Library Improvement Fund for certain improvements to the Library’s Support Services Center at 190- 9th Street be approved.
Action: AYE 6-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, and Strobin)
AGENDA ITEM #3 2003/04 BUDGET
City Librarian Susan Hildreth made a presentation to the Commission on her recommendations for budget change proposals (copy attached) to address two new needs that had emerged since the Commission addressed the budget on March 4th. The City Librarian pointed out that it had become clear that $50,000 would be needed to begin procurement for the FF&E (furniture, fixtures, and equipment) for the 1st stage Branch Bond Program projects. Ms. Hildreth envisioned development of a variety of model furnishing styles appropriate to different types of branch libraries and reported completion of the RFP process for interior design services and selection of Kwan-Henmi to work with library staff to provide interior design services for the Branch Improvement Program. She informed the Commissioners that contract negotiations were underway. Ms. Hildreth called the Commissioners attention to the fact that FF&E cannot be purchased with bond funds and that as Friends & Foundation support was not yet available this early in their capital campaign for the branches, $50, 000 from the operating budget as start up funding for procurement would need to be allocated to get Phase I projects bid packages underway. The City Librarian noted that that five or six projects could be bundled together in an effort to obtain the best price. Ms. Hildreth noted that it was still possible to redirect funds in the budget that had been submitted and noted that several items such as, an additional express check out machine, security system upgrades, a digital camera, and Main Library AV support improvements as well as an Intranet study were no longer as high a priority as those she was recommending to provide support for the FF&E project. Additionally, the City Librarian called the Commission’s attention to a $1 million bequest benefiting the Library from the late philanthropist Phyllis Wattis. Ms Hildreth reported that anticipated income from this bequest could be used to fund unmet needs including building improvements at the Main Library. The City Librarian then discussed details in the attachments to the report.
An anonymous member of the public noted that these were not simple issues and that when the budget was discussed on March 4th this individual had questioned expenditures such as the Intranet study that were defended as needed then, but it seemed could be done without now. Mr. Peter Warfield stated that explanatory materials were not available in advance finding this a disservice to the public. Mr. Warfield urged the Commission to seek more specifics on what was proposed and expressed concern that a "cookie cutter" look might result from standardized designs for branch library furniture.
In response to a question by Vice President Steiman, the City Librarian reported that the needed Intranet improvements would, most likely, be done by a library staff team. The City Librarian noted that the previously proposed items were important but that the newly identified needs were a higher priority. Additionally, Ms. Hildreth informed Vice President Steiman of her discussions with the Friends & Foundation concerning possible future support for FF&E procurement as the Capital Campaign for Branch Libraries got more fully underway. Vice President Steiman found little to fear of any "cookie cutter" look; noting members of the Council for Neighborhood Libraries (CNL) had expressed a greater concern that systemwide furniture standards were not yet in place. The Commission Vice President noted that a model standard of quality did not mean that everything looked the same. The City Librarian commented that there were many ways to tailor designs with differing finishes and fabrics appropriate to each branch library. In answer to questions by President Higueras, Ms. Hildreth discussed in some detail the ongoing efforts to create standards for FF&E and outlined progress with contract negotiations with Kwan-Henmi. Ms. Hildreth reported an anticipated timeline to have model standards that could serve as a bid package process template in place by early 2004. She noted that Kwan-Henmi would serve in an advisory capacity to Library and city staff working on the several identified branch projects. The City Librarian reiterated that the new Wattis Bequest could serve as a funding source to address now delayed priority Main Library issues. Responding to a question by Commissioner Chin, Ms. Hildreth noted that staff had fully researched and were using identified sources for national standards and that Kwan-Henmi was familiar with many types of current standards and the specialty market so that they could assist the Library in obtaining the highest quality for the most reasonable costs.
Motion: Commissioner Chin, seconded by Commissioner Strobin that the proposed budget change proposals to redirect funding in the 2003/04 Budget of $148, 652 for improvements to 190 – 9th Street and $50,000 for first phase FF&E for Branch Library improvement Program be approved.
Action: AYE 6-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, and Strobin)
AGENDA ITEM #4 EXCELSIOR BRANCH DESIGN REVIEW
After a brief introduction by the City Librarian, Mr. Philip Sowers, Bureau of Architecture, Department of Public Works, presented a detailed report (copy attached) and drawing explaining revisions made in collaboration with library staff in the proposed design for the Excelsior Branch Library as result of comments offered by the peer review panel, Commissioners, and public comment at the February Design Review. Chief of Branches Donna Corbeil then presented a detailed report (copy attached) reviewing the collection planning process and the ways the resulting shelving expansion needs were met.
Public comment: An anonymous member of the public noted that peer panel comments had been reported but not remarks offered by this individual critiquing the Excelsior Branch Design process finding in particular that advocacy for books was eviscerated from reports of the community meeting. This person also noted that Mr. Peter Warfield had made specific comments concerning reduced books and seating that were not reported. Mr. Ed Regan observed that there was little public interest in window seats and expressed a desire for a report enumerating the collection by fiction and non-fiction titles. Mr. David Hooper, New Mission Terrace Association, praised the Library staff’s response to community concerns, favored the proposed use of frosted glazing, noted that he could live with the window seating, that increased space for young people was important, and that the revised design was improved. Mr. Hooper expressed his thanks for the staff’s hard work. Ms. Rebecca Silverberg favored the revised design finding it improved and asked that the peer reviewers receive information about the changes made. Ms. Silverberg noted that the increase in book would make the branch more crowded but that that was what was wanted by the community. Ms. Silverberg also emphasized that the branch should not lose any of the proposed additional computers as well. Mr. Peter Warfield criticized the reporting of the size of the Excelsior Branch’s collections, and complained that he had not received explanatory information about this item. Mr. Warfield remarked that more books, more materials, and retaining a separate reference desk were important.
Responding a question by Commissioner Bautista, Ms. Corbeil and Mr. Underwood discussed the underlying reasons why there was a wide variety of standards but no set national standard for the number of books in library collections and called attention to various ways an appropriate collection size could be determined. Commissioner Bautista noted that Supervisor Sandoval had informed her of concerns with the size of the collection at the Excelsior Branch. The Deputy City Librarian noted that the Library in reality had one large collection located in twenty seven different locations and that this was perhaps a more accurate way to assess what was available to users. Commissioner Chin expressed concern with comments repeating “the Big Lie” that books were being removed from the libraries. She pointed out that having collections of materials that library users wanted and needed, rather than a large number of books sitting on the shelf unused, should be the criteria for evaluating appropriate collections. Vice President Steiman also challenged the accuracy of some reports of collection size noting that inflated numbers were the result of many years of not cleaning out cataloged items no longer in the collection and pointed out that the real number of books available was actually being increased. Vice President Steiman also noted that users want up to date books and information and that frequently using electronic resources was a better way to get accurate information. The Deputy City Librarian called attention to the extensive demographic and needs analysis done to make the new branch collection more responsive to what the community wanted especially more Chinese and Spanish materials and greater access to electronic resources. Mr. Underwood suggested that branch circulation would greatly increase and as the new ILS system was put into place better ways to analyze and manage the collection to facilitate its use would be possible. In response to a query by Commissioner Bautista, it was recalled that the Excelsior Branch was not included in the public art program. Vice President Steiman expressed appreciation for the increased size of the branch collection and recommended that all future branch planning begin with only the minimum allowable aisle space to meet ADA requirements to maximize space for collections. Commissioner Coulter congratulated Ms. Hildreth, Mr. Underwood, Ms. Corbeil, and the staff for making the revised design stronger with additional shelving and steps to correct misinformation concerning the actual size of its collection. Commissioner Coulter again suggested a public discussion of Collection management issues to educate the public about all of the factors that had to be considered with maintaining as well as refreshing branch collections. The Deputy City Librarian noted that a collection development workshop with the Council of Neighborhood Libraries was being planned and noted that the ULC grant provided opportunities to create a model for collection development as well as to learn from other libraries such as the New York Public Library ways to address these issues. Vice President Steiman suggested that similar collection development workshops be held in the evening and made available to members of neighborhood associations. Commissioner Chin emphasized the importance of getting input from children and youth to teach a love of learning and establish real connections with youth. Commissioner Chin recommended outreach to those who did not currently use the libraries to bring them into contact.
Commissioner Coulter left the meeting at 6:15PM
AGENDA ITEM #5 PUBLIC COMMENT
An anonymous member of the public commented on "The Big Lie" noting that the American Library Association (ALA) had withdrawn criteria under fire in the 1970s. This person suggested that the library was principally the house of the book and that library consultants erred when recommending fewer books. Mr. Ed Regan suggested that Library public service hours be expanded from 6AM until Midnight 7 days per week 365 days each year and suggested that roll away chairs and tables for standing reading, drinking fountains, and a description of the collection by fiction and non-fiction titles be provided. Mr. Peter Warfield lauded Commissioners who supported more books, suggesting that quantity and quality were both possible if the books were chosen with great care.
AGENDA ITEM #6 ADJOURNMENT
Motion: Commissioner Chin, seconded by Commissioner Bautista that the meeting be adjourned.
Action: AYE 5-0 (Bautista, Chin, Higueras, Steiman, and Strobin)
The meeting was adjourned at 6:36PM .
03/26/03 - Michael Housh, Commission Secretary
Please note: These are draft Minutes subject to change by the Library Commission. Copies of Commission Minutes and handouts are available in the Office of the Commission Secretary, 100 Larkin Street , San Francisco , CA 94102
The number of members of the public who spoke anonymously at this meeting: 1
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
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