SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION
Minutes of the regular meeting of Thursday, May 1, 2003 (As approved amended June 5, 2003)
The San Francisco Public Library Commission held its regular meeting on Thursday, May 1, 2003 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.
Vice President Steiman called the meeting to order at 4:07PM.
The following members were noted present: Commissioners Bautista, Chin, Coulter, and Steiman. President Higueras and Commissioners Streets and Strobin were reported excused attendance.
Vice President Steiman announced that as the Commission was expected to lose its quorum at 5:45PM she was reordering the meeting’s agenda calling for Item #9 Public Comment to be taken 1st followed by Item #2 Collection Management & Development, followed by Item #3 Children & Youth Services Report, then the remaining items in posted order as time permitted.
COLLECTION MANAGEMENT & DEVELOPMENT
CHILDREN & YOUTH SERVICES REPORT
AGENDA ITEM #9 PUBLIC COMMENT
An anonymous member of the public expressed appreciation that Public Comment was taken up in view of the likelihood of the meeting being shortened. This individual also informed the Commissioners concerning the status of a lawsuit that they had filed against the Library. Mr. Peter Warfield called the Commissioners attention to a ruling by the Sunshine Task Force sustaining his complaint that the Library had violated the Sunshine Ordinance.
In response to a question by Vice President Steiman, Deputy City Attorney Catharine Barnes reported that the City Attorney had determined that the Sunshine Task Force’s order concerning Mr. Warfield’s complaint was unlawful.
AGENDA ITEM #2 COLLECTION MANAGEMENT & DEVELOPMENT
City Librarian Susan Hildreth introduced Jane Light, Director of the San Jose Public Library and Library Consultant Jeanne Goodrich for a presentation on library collection management and development (hand outs attached). Ms. Light described her professional background and reported on her extensive experience in managing and developing the San Jose Library’s collection that facilitated collections with a high turnover rate indicating frequent circulation and strong in the subject areas most in demand by her library’s users. Ms. Light then discussed the underlying principles of providing collections of library materials that provided what was wanted, in the ways they were wanted, and in a timely manner to library users. She noted her library was a system with one collection located in 18 sites and that its branch libraries were not islands but part of a system that could provide a requested item within 48 hours of a request. Ms. Light noted that while some materials were purchased with a particular location in mind, computer access to materials had allowed many users to access materials throughout the San Jose Library’s collections. Ms. Light commented that items should earn their way into the shelves and earn the right to stay by being used. She pointed out that materials not circulating within a two year period could be considered for removal. Ms. Light noted that in today’s library AV materials were as important to users as print. The San Jose Library Director suggested that librarians should trust their customers and tailor their acquisitions and retention to what users wanted. Ms. Light highlighted ways that new technologies could reduce barriers to making materials available and provide greater access to information, particularly for non-English speaking users. Ms. Light additionally pointed to declining use of print reference materials as more users accessed information electronically and noted that demand for periodicals had also declined. Ms. Light suggested that increased use of electronic resources and the options offered by ebooks were trends to watch.
The City Librarian then introduced Library Consultant Jeanne Goodrich. Ms. Goodrich lauded the work done in San Jose as exactly the right approach and provided a brief overview of her professional experience as well as ongoing involvement with San Francisco Public Library projects. Ms. Goodrich then gave the Commissioners a critical review of where San Francisco fell among libraries in terms of important use measurements, noting that in many branches materials circulated once a year or not at all where the rate should be at least 6 to 8 times per year.
An anonymous member of the public opined that the library was a comprehensive resource and that some library professionals regarded low circulation figures as reflective of a high quality collection. Mr. Peter Warfield suggested that if popularity were the benchmark minority views would be driven out. Ms. Sue Cauthen, commented on the wide variety of branch collections and citing the Marina Branch, noted that people often complained about not being able to find what they wanted.
Commissioner Coulter recalled past controversies concerning removal of materials that did not circulate, pointing out that some opposed any weeding, and noted that it was important to rely on the professionalism of our librarians to replace old materials with new. Commissioner Coulter observed that the Library had not done a good job in explaining its collection management policies. Ms. Light remarked that while balance could be important in a collection, it was not always true that having some of everything was preferred to having multiple copies of the best wanted titles available. She suggested that it was best to rely on the judgment of librarians as to how to keep materials of lesser interest available as needed. In response to a question by Vice President Steiman regarding keeping literary and historical materials active in collections, she noted that minority views and historical materials should be highlighted to call attention to them and encourage greater use. Ms. Light noted that having a variety of library collections sharing a peer network of actively circulating materials made more items available to a wider audience of users and maximized the resources available to all. In response to another query by Vice President Steiman, Ms. Light commented that shared access to catalogs made sure that all subject areas in a broad range of titles could be found. Ms. Light noted that this resulted in a far richer collection available through an informal network of shared library resources with each library having some special differing subject emphasis that enriched the whole. Commissioner Chin remarked that common sense and intelligence indicated that materials wanted by users should be provided, calling attention to the large number of members of the public who don’t come to meetings and speak out but who want and use a wide variety of materials in diverse media as opportunities to learn. Commissioner Chin noted that our libraries should not be warehouses and that out of date materials should be withdrawn. In response to questions by Commissioner Bautista, Ms. Light explained about the numerous ways surveys were conducted to evaluate what library users were using and what they wanted, calling attention to San Jose’s annual citywide repots on performance measures accomplished during the year.
AGENDA ITEM #3 CHILDREN & YOUTH SERVICES REPORT
Ms. Toni Bernardi, Chief of Children and Youth Services, presented a detailed overview of the library’s plans (copy attached) for Summer Reading 2003 “Team Up with Books” themed program highlighting the resources devoted during the Summer (June 7 –August 9) to young readers of every level throughout the library system.
Ms Bernardi then introduced members of the Teen Advisory Council to share their views with the Commissioners. Martrice Chandler, a library user since age 11 and an original member of the Teen Advisory Council, called the library crucial in providing the information resources teens needed calling attention to homework help programs and providing inviting and friendly places to study and work. Ms. Chandler noted that teen users were the future of the library. Annie Yu, a 14 year old member of the Teen Advisory Council, called the Commissioners attention to needed improvements, such as more dedicated spaces for teens, more computers for teen users, and explained that there was often a problem with adults using computers assigned for teen use. Ms Yu also urged development of more, larger, and comfortable dedicated teen serving spaces calling attention to a successful model at the Boston Public Library. Brian Hom, a Teen Advisory Council member very interested in technology, also urged that more computers be made available to tech savvy teen users and suggested that tech support tailored for teen users be developed. Brian pointed out that ever more demanding homework assignments required greater computer access and more Internet time be made available for Teen student. Brian also noted the problems when adult users monopolized computers intended for teens, and additionally recommended catalog improvements that would be helpful for teen users. Ms. Bernardi noted that the teens’ voices had been heard and that, while the Library had come along way, much remained to be done.
Vice President Steiman limited public comment to 2 minutes to allow everyone who wished to speak in view of the short time left before the meeting must conclude.
Martrice Chandler, Teen Advisory Council, pointed out that youth were often forgotten and that the library provided the resources to inspire confidence and help youth success. Ms. Chandler called attention to the Library’s outreach to young people but noted that improvements were still needed citing more specialized youth collections and above all more dedicated teen computer access at the Main Library and in branches, citing in particular the need for more computers at the Sunset Branch. She also suggested that the “KidPower” program be opened to younger students. Erica, a Teen from Treasure Island, echoed the call for more dedicated computer access for teens citing the demands of homework and the importance it played in getting good grades. Erica also recommended allowing teens more time when using the teen dedicated computers. Betsy Levine, SFPL Teen Librarian, urged the Commissioners to look beyond just buildings and create popular collections that would bring youth into the library for love of learning. Ms. Levine noted that youth must not be ignored and that she was excited about efforts to provide more resources for youth.
Commissioner Chin applauded the teens voicing their needs to the Commission, noting that the teen users wanted more media and computers instead of just books and unlike some older patrons were not afraid of technology. Commissioner Chin voiced support for the youth’s requests for greater access to more technological resources and digital media. Vice President Steiman pointed out that online access to information was critical to students being able to keep up with the heavy homework demands required of students today, noting that in this context books could be limited and inefficient in providing a broad range of information needed. Other Teen Advisory Council members spoke about the interest of teen users in access to online music as well as a great interest in animation. In response to a question by Vice President Steiman it was emphasized that dedicated Teen spaces were very important as a quiet place to study and important in fostering an interest in learning. Vice President Steiman expressed regret that as the Commission was about to lose its quorum this interesting discuss would have to come to an end. Commission Chin expressed regret that she had to leave and expressed happiness at the good turnout by teens. Commissioner Bautista noted a need for follow-up discussions on finding ways to make more dedicated computers available to teens as well as address the question of making teen computers off limits to adult users.
AGENDA ITEM #11 ADJOURNMENT
MOTION: by Commissioner Coulter, seconded by Commissioner Bautista that the meeting be adjourned.
ACTION: AYE 4-0 (Chin, Bautista, Coulter, Steiman)
The meeting was adjourned at 6:01PM
Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 6/6/03
Please note: Any amended text in these Minutes appears in alternative typeface. 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.
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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