SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION
Minutes of the special meeting of Thursday, August 21 2003. (As approved amended September 18, 2003)
The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a special meeting on Thursday, August 21, 2003 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.
President Higueras called the meeting to order at 2:08 PM.
The following members were noted present: Commissioners Bautista, Higueras, Steiman, and Strobin. Commissioner Chin’s arrival was reported as expected to be delayed. Commissioners Coulter and Streets were reported excused.
AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE July 17, 2003 COMMISSION MEETING
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE July 17, 2003 COMMISSION MEETING
An anonymous member of the public observed that these Minutes were being approved when the June Meeting Minutes had not yet been addressed then discussed a letter sent by President Higueras to the Board of Supervisors on the library budget. Mr. Ed Regan found his remarks accurately reported. Mr. Peter Warfield cited three inaccuracies he found in these Minutes: a page 1 discussion of his comments about President Higueras’ letter to the Board of Supervisors; his page 2 question regarding backup plans if the Millennium transition failed; and a page 3 report that did not include a discussion of RFID in the Strategic Plan.
Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE July 17, 2003 COMMISSION MEETING
MOTION: Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Steiman that the July 17, 2003 Minutes be approved.
ACTION: AYE 5-0 (Bautista, Chin, Higueras, Steiman and Strobin)
AGENDA ITEM #2 BOND PROGRAM MANAGER’S REPORT (copy attached)
Branch Library Improvement Program Manager Marilyn Thompson informed the Commissioners that there would be no informational report. The Branch Improvement Program Manager reported a total of $ 11,683,774 in expenditures and encumbrances through June 30th. . Ms. Thompson noted that current budget and schedule reports were available and then presented her regular Budget, Schedule, Active Projects, and Community Outreach updates reports (copies attached). Ms. Thompson noted that there was no special report. The Branch Library Improvement Program Manager lastly reported that the BLIP website was updated.
Public Comment on AGENDA ITEM #2 BOND PROGRAM MANAGER’S REPORT
An anonymous member of the public noted that copies of the report slides were not available and found the report “bloodless” citing what this person found to be intense controversies surrounding the Glen Park and North Beach Branches that were not reflected in the report. Mr. Ed Regan voiced opposition to the new Portola Branch being located on a school site and expressed concerns that the new branch would have insufficient capacity to meet the needs of both students and other library users citing personal experience in his own branch. Mr. Regan also preferred that the Branch be located in a business district. Mr. Peter Warfield found the report complex and expressed a desire for more details. In particular, Mr. Warfield wanted more discussion about the Glen Park Branch.
Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #2 BOND PROGRAM MANAGER’S REPORT
Vice President Steiman, a Glen Park resident, noted that she had discussed the proposed new branch library with many of her neighbors and found no opposition to the proposed branch library but that there was concern about serious and long-standing transit, parking, and congestion issues endemic in the “downtown “ of the neighborhood that well preceded this project. Vice President Steiman noted that a recent transit charette that the Library had co-sponsored had helped significantly in focusing the City’s attention on these longstanding neighborhood issues. The City Librarian noted that Supervisor Dufty had committed to follow through with practical steps needed to address these underlying transit and parking issues in Glen Park.
AGENDA ITEM #3 JOINT USE AGREEMENTS BETWEEN SFPL-SFUSD
City Librarian Susan Hildreth presented an overview of Cooperative Agreements for Ingleside Branch – Aptos Middle School / Ortega Branch – A.P. Gianni Middle School, Sunset Elementary School /Visitacion Valley Branch – Visitacion Valley Middle School, Visitacion Valley Elementary School between the Library and the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) (copies attached) and the related resolutions recommending Board of Supervisors approval of these agreements. Ms. Hildreth called attention to the high priority and weight placed on having such agreements in the State Library Bond Prop 14 regulations and then introduced Library Chief of Children and Youth Services Toni Bernardi. Ms. Bernardi presented background information on the existing cooperation between the library and the school district and highlighted how these agreements could strengthen and formalize these relationships in a very beneficial way. Ms. Bernardi then discussed the details of ach of these agreements.
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #3 JOINT USE AGREEMENTS BETWEEN SFPL-SFUSD
An anonymous member of the public found the proposed agreements lacking in reciprocity by the schools suggesting that the Library was providing the most citing the terms of the contribution language that could be read to mean no contribution by the schools. Mr. Ed Regan criticized the proposed agreements as providing too much for students and suggesting that the new branches would not have sufficient room to service everyone. Mr. David Zamlich, an Anza Branch user thought the agreements a wonderful idea, noting that anything that encourages children to use the library was good. Mr. Zamlich pointed out the libraries were safe environments for homework and that providing more services for youth was better. Mr. Peter Warfield expressed concern that the differing aims of schools and libraries not result in diminished library services for others. Mr. Warfield questioned increasing the numbers of books on tape for the literacy program as noted in the Aptos agreement and also expressed concern with the possible long-term impact of the cost of providing these services.
Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #3 JOINT USE AGREEMENTS BETWEEN SFPL-SFUSD
Commissioner Bautista citing the importance of having such agreements for the success of the Library’s efforts to obtain Prop 14 (State Library Bond Act) funds, lauded these agreements as providing a model for providing 21st century library services to all San Francisco’s children. President Higueras agreed that that the Library was already providing much of these kinds of services in a less efficient and structured way and that these agreements could improve delivery of these services. In response to a question by President Higueras regarding any increase in costs to the library, Ms. Bernardi noted that as these agreements simplify and clarify much of what was already occurring there was no expectation that there would be any additional costs resulting from these agreements. Ms. Bernardi also noted regarding books on tape that there was an ever increasing systemwide demand for such materials by limited English speakers who wished to use them so that they could better understand and assist their children with assigned readings. As a follow up to Commissioners’ comments Ms. Bernardi proposed that a report card on the success of these agreements be brought to the Commission next year
MOTION: Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Steiman for approval of the proposed joint use agreements between SFPL and SFUSD and urging the Board of Supervisors to approve these agreements.
ACTION: AYE 4-0 (Bautista, Higueras, Steiman, and Strobin)
AGENDA ITEM # 4 CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT
The City Librarian presented a report on: the Tool Lending Center’s status; on the
Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) decision; and a 02/03 Statistics report (copy attached). In her report Ms Hildreth lauded Donna Corbeil, Rich Walsh, and George Nichols for quickly and efficiently responding to the unexpected difficulties of SLUG the Library’s non-profit partner in the Tool Center. The City Librarian noted that it was her hope that next year’s statistics might include tracking of online and library website use estimated to be 5.5 million hits in 2001/02.
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM # 4 CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT
An anonymous member of the public commented that the fate of the Tool Center should be a red flag. This person suggested that the surprise collapse raised questions concerning safeguards and noted few details about how it happened or any costs that could result. This person also discussed the failure of previous versions of the CIPA to pass muster with the courts and challenged the reported library statistics. Mr. Peter Warfield wondered at the cost to the Library from the SLUG collapse, applauded that the Library would not filter its computers, and expressed frustration that the statistics had not been provided to him prior to the meeting.
Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM # 4 CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT
In response to questions by President Higueras and Vice President Steiman, the City Librarian discussed the next steps that the American Library Association (ALA) was considering in response to the court’s decision upholding the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). In answer to additional questions by President Higueras and Vice President Steiman concerning the meaning of some of the numbers reported, the City Librarian noted that it seemed that many of the less difficult reference questions were being answered by users going directly online and that the result was that although there were fewer reference questions asked their complexity was greater. In response to a comment by Commissioner Strobin, it was suggested that the improved directional signage and greater familiarity with the building had also led to fewer users asking “where is?” kinds of questions of staff. In response to a question by President Higueras, Ms., Hildreth and Finance Director George Nichols outlined what had occurred with SLUG (San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners) and reported on the Request for Proposals (RFP) to replace it. In answer to a question by Commissioner Bautista it was noted that there was $175,000 in the Library’s 03/034 budget to operate the Tool Lending Center and that very few tools had not been returned and that more were still being returned.
President Higueras called for a brief recess at 3:49PM
The Commission returned to session at 4:05PM
Commissioner Chin joined the meeting at 4:06PM
AGENDA ITEM #5 LIBRARY 03/04 BUDGET UPDATE
Library Finance Director George Nichols presented a detailed report discussing and describing the Library’s 2003/04 Budget as approved by the Board of Supervisors and signed by the Mayor (copy attached) noting that the final budget was $55.6 million, which was $964,000 greater that the budget the Commission had approved in March.
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #5 LIBRARY 03/04 BUDGET UPDATE
An anonymous member of the public found Mr. Nichols detailed report useful, citing in particular the struggle to preserve the Library’s book budget and commenting that the Board of Supervisors decision (to reduce it) was incorrect. Mr. Peter Warfield also expressed concern about the book budget and recommended that the Library focus on what he suggested was Prop E’s (Library Preservation Fund) mandate for more books and hours and not spending on things thought not central to its mission.
Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #5 LIBRARY 03/04 BUDGET UPDATE
President Higueras commented that in view of the fact that 80% of the Library budget was absorbed by personnel costs there was little remaining to add without reducing personnel. The City Librarian noted that the Board of Supervisors had exercised its authority to tap funds that the Library Commission had set aside for books and that therefore the Commission had no further recourse. Deputy City Attorney Catharine Barnes suggested that should the Commission wish to discuss issues involved in the Board of Supervisors’ decision shifting Prop. E funds that it could convene in a closed session or request a written opinion on this matter from the City Attorney. In response to questions the City Librarian noted that the School District had made no request that it be given funds and cited other monies such as the funds for the purchase of the site for the new Portola Branch Library that the Board of Supervisors had bundled together as an assistance package for the school district. Commissioner Chin pointed out that the Library’s fixed personnel and facility costs severely limited the amount of the budget that was discretionary. President Higueras noted that the Library had suffered relatively slight damage in view of the City’s overall budget shortfall. There followed a discussion of the next steps in materials recovery as the Board of Supervisors had directed that the Library use the Tax Collector’s Office to recover lost materials.
AGENDA ITEM #6 POST OCCUPANCY EVALUATION (POE) REPORT
Chief of the Main Library Kathy Lawhun presented an overview report of the 17 projects included in Phase I of the Main Library improvements related to issues raised in the Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) Report.
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #6 POST OCCUPANCY EVALUATION (POE) REPORT
Mr. Peter Warfield found little in the report that provided additional space for books and queried as to how much space might become available. Mr. Warfield also inquired about the installation of new signage and asked what public input had been sought, suggesting that a mandate for public input should have been included in the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the new signage.
Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #6 POST OCCUPANCY EVALUATION (POE) REPORT
Commissioner Bautista lauded improvements in the cleaning of exterior areas around the Main Library.
AGENDA ITEM #7 PUBLIC COMMENT
An anonymous member of the public commented on Vice President Steiman’s comments concerning lawsuits and noted that this person’s current lawsuit against the Library was scheduled for trial on December 1st. Mr. Peter Warfield commented that there had been no increases in hours since the adoption of Prop. E and several discussions regarding reductions. Mr. Warfield additionally noted that the book budget had risen and then fallen only now reaching the same level as immediately after Prop. E (Library Preservation Fund) was adopted. Mr. Warfield suggested that a source of funds for more books could be found by elimination of staff positions not providing public service.
President Higueras called a recess at 4:57PM until the scheduled 5:30PM time set for a public hearing on the Library’s Strategic Plan 2003-06.
The Commission reconvened at 5:32PM
AGENDA ITEM #8 LIBRARY STRATEGIC PLAN 2003-06
President Higueras outlined that there would be a presentation on each of the elements of the draft plan followed by opportunity for public comment limited to 2 minutes. City Librarian Susan Hildreth then introduced library consultant Gail McPartland who began her detailed presentation (copy attached) on each of the elements of the proposed 2003-06 Strategic plan for the Library.
1st Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #8 LIBRARY STRATEGIC PLAN 2003-06
1st Service Response ( General Information)
An anonymous member of the public noted that the history was flawed, does not include South Park branch; creates impression that planning happens all the time; lack of planning has been the practice. Ms. Marcia Popper – emphasis is on a 3-year plan; many programs and services are not reflected in the plan (business, technology, music, children, etc.); does not infer these are not important services. Mr. Peter Warfield – should be general and specific to include all services; where is history? Where are books? Where are references to social and civic life; very narrow goal; uses a ‘canned methodology.’ Ms. Melissa Riley (Librarians Guild) – does not include fiscal implications for the chosen priorities; short shrift to space, services and staff, ranking of 3 priorities then putting on equal level is unclear. Ms. Marti Goddard (special needs advocate) – as a staff member, this felt good to read; includes all residents; can use to support work. Mr. Roberto Esteves (retired librarian) – plan is exciting; has vision and a way to evaluate services; will need to prioritize some activities
1st Commission Discussion
Commissioner Chin noted “all residents” cannot be achieved, recommend lowering the breath of the goals; library will be sued if this language is used; bound by time – only until 2006. Vice President Steiman suggested a changing 3.1.1 language re: privacy
2nd Service Response (Lifelong Learning)
2nd Public Comment
Anonymous member of the public noted this should be strongest priority but is the weakest; is amorphous; attracts new users but the library is an intimidating place; plan provides for ‘little’ programs. Mr. Peter Warfield – where does this fit with larger plan? Will this spawn other documents? Pp. 9 ‘overall needs of the San Francisco Community” does not indicate what is left out. Mr. Ang Lee, a West Portal user (father) and his son who enjoys using the library commented it encourages thinking and suggested conducting needs assessments before implementing much self-service; also the plan should enhance quality of service; adequate staffing, e.g. reference staff, should be preserved; outreach is good, but not at expense of staffing; encourages that branch staff, including circulation staff, should be maintained at excellent levels. Ms. Marcia Popper noted privacy issues (from previous section) are covered in values section. Ms. Melissa Riley – pp. discusses privacy; Board of Supervisors language uses the word “support” (recommended change); librarians barely able to cover desks, outreach and programs are problematic for service; outreach inside library buildings is also important
2nd Commission Discussion
Vice President Steiman noted outreach, like all programs and activities, will have a next step which will include staff assessing and implementing what can be done; implementation is not addressed in this phase of the planning process. She additionally noted that the Plan shouldn’t add too much to what staff is already doing; shift activities to other capable groups such as the Friends, volunteers, etc. Vice President Steiman also suggested that there should be a discussion on wireless and its implementation since out-dated technology is a continuing concern for youth (recommended follow-up presentation to the Commissioners).
3rd Service Response (Current Topics and Titles) and closing material
3rd Public Comment
Anonymous member of the public noted Susan Hildreth made moot her plan of “modern service trends” by not including most or all library programs in the document; role of librarian changed to ‘navigator’ with more help desks using Internet browsers; pp. 20 15.1.1 concern over Collection Development Advisory Committee including ‘stakeholders’ to choose books. Mr. Peter Warfield – Plan should be a high-level document, not a discussion of detail; Current Topics and Titles is either too limited or too broad; pp. 21 reference to RFID was quoted as costing approximately $1million in a letter to the Board yet isn’t clear how it relates to Current Topics and Titles. Ms. Melissa Riley – 15.1.1 Advisory Committee includes only the Main Library Affinity Centers and should include other interested groups (recommended change to wording); preservation and conservation of materials is not included; rapid delivery has staffing and ergonomic implications; encourages don’t diminish the value of browsing collections. Mr.
Roberto Esteves – RFID assists in inventory control and automated routing; proven technology in the commercial world for keeping materials available to the public
3rd Commission Discussion
Vice President Steiman clarified that RFID is part of a world-wide trend, not just a library technology; RFID allows ability to find misplaced materials easily so items aren’t lost for ling periods of time (recommended change). President Higueras recommended
clarifying establishment of staff task forces and committees is the City Librarian’s purview, not a Library Commission role. Commissioner Bautista suggested identifying budget items; prepare a staff presentation on RFID.
4th Public Comments
Anonymous member of the public – recognizes the hard work of all involved with the planning; encourages remaining relevant; keep core values and remove barriers for users
Ms. Laura Lent (Librarian) – sees public input in the plan; supports the plan and the added challenge to push library forward; plan accurately reflects public’s direction and desire for service; includes linguistic diversity; online automation system and vendors will help address the stated needs. Ms. Melissa Riley - notes conflict between traditional literature and popular materials; likes the plan referring to ‘users’ and not ‘customers’. Ms. Toni Bernardi (Librarian) – plan is broad in scope; place for children, teens and all user groups in all parts; the plan is not segregated; high-quality teen collections where teens ask for what they want, especially electronic resources, computers and graphic novels. Mr. Peter Warfield – unclear what is purpose and context for the plan. What is the use? Measurables? Will other services be forgotten? Library is source for other materials no longer in bookstores; would wish the plan included something about collection breadth and depth. Mr. Roberto Esteves – technology and services to move the library forward; Library is trustworthy; not throwing collections away.
4th Commission Discussion
Vice President Steiman noted collection sections provide extensive stressing of collection, is 1st step in right direction; find where we are lacking. The Plan provides a start and not an end. President Higueras noted that this “Draft” will become a “Final Draft" and changes will be indicated. Question re: written comments: A means for submitting written comments was provided and none were received. Commissioner chin noted that the Plan provides “reliable and responsible” stewardship for the future, is idealistic (which is OK) and the practical (which is sometimes too ambitious), and needs to address more of ‘what are we going to deliver’.
AGENDA ITEM #9 ADJOURNMENT
MOTION: Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Strobin that the meeting be adjourned.
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #9 ADJOURNMENT
ACTION: AYE 5-0 (Bautista, Chin, Higueras, Steiman, and Strobin)
The meeting was adjourned at 7:07PM.
Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 9/19/03
Amended text in alternative typeface..
Please note: Copies of Commission Minutes and handouts are available in the Office of the Commission Secretary, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
The Public Comment Summary Statements included in Appendix A of 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
Minutes of the special Commission Meeting of August 21, 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
available for viewing in pdf format.
City Librarian’s Report, August 21, 2003
The status of the Tool Lending Center was reviewed. The San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners (SLUG) has provided this service for three years through a contract funded by the Library. In July, SLUG stopped operations due to fiscal difficulties; and the Tool Center temporarily ceased operation. Library staff retrieved tools that were being used and secured all City assets at the Tool Center. The Library has issued a request for proposal for non-profit organizations that are interested in operating the Tool Center and hope to identify a new operator and have the Center reopened in October or November. The City Librarian reviewed the Supreme Court decision issued in late June finding that the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) was constitutional. This decision means that libraries must filter all computers in order to qualify for E-Rate subsidies for internet connectivity. Because of existing City legislation prohibiting installation of filters on adult or teen pcs, the Library will no longer quality for the portion of the E-rate subsidy that supports Internet access. The Library will continue to apply and qualify for E-Rate telephone line and other subsidies. Attached is a statistics report that compares various key indicators for 2001/02 and 2002/03.