SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION
Minutes of the regular meeting of Tuesday, April 1, 2003
(As approved amended May 20, 2003)
The San Francisco Public Library Commission held its regular meeting on Tuesday, April 1, 2003 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.
President Higueras called the meeting to order at 4:06PM .
The following members were noted present: Commissioners Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, Streets and Strobin. Commissioner Chin’s arrival was expected to be delayed.
AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MARCH 4, 2003 MINUTES
Anonymous member of the public noted that the copies of the minutes and attachments were in separate stapled groups suggesting that they should be together in one document. This person noted the Commission Secretary’s explanation for the questionable grammar used in reporting some public comment was the result of efforts to protect even gender anonymity. This person noted that a request for clarification of a public comment by this individual related to the elimination of the Easter closure of libraries requested by President Higueras had been made. Mr. Ed Regan noted that his comments were accurately reported. Mr. Peter Warfield voiced several objections to these minutes citing a page 3 report of Commissioner Coulter’s comments and the Commission’s action to place last on the list any proposed reduction in the book budget. Mr. Warfield also found lacking the absence of a report of his questions regarding any impact the elimination of the Chief of IRMO and a librarian position might have on the acquisition of books and a dearth of details of the discussion on the strategic plan.
In response to a question by President Higueras, the Commission Secretary confirmed that the Minutes accurately reported the Commission’s revision of the additional 5% contingency budget reduction plan priorities placing the book budget reductions last on the list.
Motion: by Commissioner Streets, seconded by Commissioner Chin for approval of the Minutes of March 4, 2003.
Action: AYE 7-0 (Chin, Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, Streets, and Strobin)
AGENDA ITEM #2 CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT
City Librarian Susan Hildreth presented a report (copy attached) on anti-war demonstrations on the Larkin Street steps, impacts of the proposed 2003/04 State Budget, State Legislative Day activities, SFPL participation in the "Imagine it, explore it, create it" Conference, SFPL participation in the Urban Libraries Council Executive Leadership Institute, the City’s proposed cell phone legislation, the publication of "Inscriptions", and exhibits and programs.
An anonymous member of the public expressed interest in the publication of Inscriptions, noting that they had visited the old Main Library now the new Asian Art Museum and reported that the architect had highlighted rather than destroyed the virtues of the building. This person suggested that this vindicated the position of those such as themselves who had been accused of small-mindedness for advocating the building be retained for the library. Thus person also lauded the Schmulowitz exhibit. Mr. Peter Warfield noted that there had been a revised version of the Minutes that he had not been aware of and suggested that the proposal for a $1 charge for borrowing materials by non-residents did not seem likely to raise much money. Mr. Warfield commented that California residents could apply for a number of library cards where they lived and worked and thereby avoid such charges. Mr. Warfield found the publication of the Old Main Library inscriptions nice, noting that it provided a record memorializing them, and inquired about how to obtain a copy. Mr. ed Regan found the report good and suggested that creation of a statewide library card good at all libraries including university libraries would eliminate that problem and should not cost very much. Ms. Deborah Doyle, Library BALIS representative, informed the Commissioners of the hard work librarians throughout the Bay Area had been doing to facilitate sharing of materials. She pointed out if a charge had to be imposed, it might make users more aware of the success of that effort. Ms. Doyle urged that everyone write to their legislators to prevent reductions in library funding, noting that such letters do make a difference.
Vice President Steiman echoed Ms. Doyle’s urging that everyone work to protecting library funding and expressed appreciation of the beautiful photographs in the "Caves" exhibit in the Jewett Galley. Commissioner Coulter called attention to and commended the hanging of the City & County, California, and United States flags in the Larkin Street lobby area. President Higueras commended Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood for his leadership on the Urban Libraries Council grant. Commissioner Bautista reminded everyone of this year’s Effie Lee Morris Lecture.
AGENDA ITEM #3 MAIN LIBRARY POE QUARTERLY REPORT
City Librarian Susan Hildreth gave a detailed overview report (copy attached) and background on recent projects and the proposed next steps in addressing Main Library improvements identified in the Post Occupancy Evaluation Report (POE) that she noted could be completed by March of 2005.
Ms. Hildreth then introduced, Kathy Lawhun, Chief of the Main Library, who provided additional details on the specific of plans for carrying out the proposed Main Library improvements beginning with repairs on the seismic joint, the Grove Street entry area, the Hyde Street door, repairs to damaged granite surfaces, resurfacing of damaged tabletops, resurfacing damaged elevator interiors, removing the lockers and replacing them with exhibit cases. Ms. Lawhun then discussed the new Main Library Signage being crafted and prepared for installation, the proposed relocation of the sorting room to the 1st Floor, and work being planned by library consultant Mike White to redesign the Borrowers’ Services area in ergonomic manner and reconfigure the way it made services available benefiting both library staff and the public. She reported that preliminary sketches would be ready by the end of April, and that hopefully the design could then be finalized during the next six months.
An anonymous member of the public found the information presented in response to public inquiries regarding progress in addressing POE related issues helpful, but inquired regarding what was meant by expansion of 1st Floor public services, what were they and what would they look like? This person noted that if new signage was being installed now would not all these changes require that the new signs be changed again in the near future? Mr. Peter Warfield complained that as he saw it books were the core of the library and there was no mention of books in the report nor any report on what he found to be a main emphasis of the POE, creation of more space for books. Mr. Warfield requested more details of what the proposed Borrowers’ Services changes might be. Mr. Ed Regan suggested improved signage to help people find materials, relocating the circulating collection to the 1st Floor, and recommending that more space be provided for non-fiction on the first floor. Mr. Regan also suggested that the drinking fountains be made the responsibility of the city’s Water Department.
In response to a query by Vice President Steiman, Ms. Lawhun outlined expanding the first Stop area stacks and the proposed shift of popular fiction from the 3rd to the 1st Floor and the possible interfiling of video/cd/dvd materials in the new shelving arrangement. Ms Lawhun noted that some small staff work areas in what is currently Technical Services area will be retained, circulation services would be concentrated in one area, the Information Desk would be more visibly located, and more areas for open stacks for books and materials created. Ms. Lawhun noted that there were still unanswered questions regarding air circulation and the allowable weight loading in some of the proposed new public services sections of the 1st Floor. In response to a question by Commissioner Chin, Ms. Lawhun reported that the City Librarian would bring the developed concept to the Commission next fall and if approved construction would occur from the end of 2003 into 2004. Ms. Lawhun noted that there would be regular reports with opportunity to comment during the course of the project. Responding to Vice President Steiman, Ms. Lawhun indicated Deaf Services location would remain unchanged. Ms. Lawhun confirmed to President Higueras that every effort would be made to minimize the project’s impact on public services, reporting that Rich Walsh had been doing extensive pre-construction planning with Trico. In response to a question by President Higueras, Ms. Hildreth reported that she would provide the Commission with regular updates on the work and that the project would be closely supervised by Rich Walsh and Matt Smyth with consulting by the Bureau of Architecture. In answer to a question by Commissioner Bautista, Ms. Lawhun confirmed that new permanent desks would be created and some acoustical concerns would be addressed in Phase 1 and 2 planning. Ms. Hildreth then discussed the flexibility being built into the new signage program and noted that some of the new signage had been developed as a result of needs identified by the temporary signs applied to some building walls. Ms. Hildreth additionally pointed out that the information on ergonomically designed service desks could be adapted for use in Branch Improvement Program projects as well. In response to a question, Ms. Lawhun discussed the ongoing problems at the Hyde Street staff entrance, expressing a hope that moving the door outward might reduce some of the problems. Ms. Hildreth explained to Commissioner Coulter that the laminate chosen to repair damaged desktop was an excellent match with the original finish and had the added benefit of being easy to repair or replace by library staff.
AGENDA ITEM #4 FUHRMAN FUND UPDATE
City Librarian Susan Hildreth clarified that this report on the Fuhrman Trust was for the current year rather than 03/04 as had been mistakenly reported on some copies of the agenda. Library Chief of IRMO, Roberto Esteves then presented an extensive and detailed overview (copy attached) of the history of the Fuhrman Bequest from its beginning in 1941. Mr. Esteves noted that Mr. Fuhrman’s will divided income from his gift between the Library for use in acquisition of supplementary materials on politics and economics and the Recreation and Park Department for the adornment of Golden Gate Park. The Chief of IRMO then described the real estate and oil lease assets that generated revenues for the bequest and reported $1,803,000 as the current principle amount. Mr. Esteves then discussed in some detail the way in which the funds had been spent by the Library and reported details of unsuccessful legal challenges to the Library’s uses of the fund. Mr. Esteves called attention to the significant benefits to the collection resulting from access to serial publications funded by the Fuhrman Bequest, noting it provided the margin of excellence in several important areas, such as international trade directories, investment related materials, and vital business, government, and economic databases. The Chief of IRMO reminded the Commissioners that as the Library was a federal depository library, a repository for State of California records, and served as the city’s official posting site and City Archives, the assistance provided by the Fuhrman Bequest facilitated expanded collection access for the public. Mr. Esteves then outlined the process used to develop and maintain a pre-selected list of qualified materials that could be purchased with Fuhrman Bequest funds, noting that $190,000 had be spent so far and estimating that a total of $330,000 would be spend by the end of the year.
An anonymous member of the public commented that it was a positive sign that this item was on the agenda but that they remained unsatisfied with the report. This person challenged the appropriateness of the Library’s choice of materials purchased with Fuhrman Bequest funds, questioned how economics became defined as business, and emphasized that these funds were to be used to acquire supplementary materials. This person questioned if these materials met the standards set out in Mr. Fuhrman’s will. Mr. Ed Regan found the report informative and noting that politics covers a lot of ground suggested the acquisition of more materials on the 50 state governments to be made available in branch libraries and at the Main. Mr. Peter Warfield expressed appreciation for the information provided but found it incomplete, raising questions regarding the cost of materials, and finding the choices too narrowly technical to be of interest to the general reader. Mr. Warfield asked how the choices were made, who made them, and how were these choices changed over time.
Vice President Steiman noted that the purpose of the Fuhrman Bequest was to provide supplementary materials to enhance the quality and depth of collections of materials for general readers that would be acquired by the general book budget. In response to questions by President Higueras, Mr. Esteves detailed the process used to set up the general order for materials such as periodicals or those published irregularly through blanket orders which he noted were now periodically reviewed by collection librarians to evaluate how these materials met users’ needs. Mr. Esteves noted that in general such lists remain fairly stable from year to year and reported approximately $800,000 was used for such standing orders. Commissioner Chin called attention to the importance of databases in providing great expansion of access to needed sources of information, pointing that the contemporary explosion of facts was not confined to just books. Commissioner Bautista inquired if there was any commemorative signage calling attention to Mr. Fuhrman’s contributions to the Library and suggested that such recognition should be considered. In response to a question by Commissioner Streets, the City Librarian reported that while it was not clear that the Commission had set a fixed policy after discussing the status of the Fuhrman Trust in 1998, it had been the practice of the library to spend only the income, around $300,000 derived each year.
AGENDA ITEM #5 AFFINITY CENTERS UPDATE REPORT
Ms. Kathy Lawhun, Chief of the Main Library, introduced Ms. Estella Manila of the Filipino American Center and Ms. Andrea Grimes of the Marjorie G. and Carl W. Stern Book Arts & Special Collections Center for update presentations on recent activities in their departments.
Ms. Grimes reported the history of the Stern Book Arts & Special Collections Center since it was organized in 1964 to centralize all of the Library’s diverse special collections. Ms. Grimes called particular attention to the Schmulowitz Wit & Humor Collection, the Robert Grabhorn History of Printing and the Development of the Book Collection, and the Richard Harrison Collection of Calligraphy and Lettering as among the crown jewels of a very rich group of library collections.
Ms. Grimes then discussed the reference work, collection development, collection maintenance and cataloging, teaching classes, and many outreach activities through exhibits and associated programming done by the Center’s three person staff, Asa Peavy, Susie Taylor, and Ms. Grimes. Ms. Grimes then presented an overview of recent exhibits and associated programs and called particular attention to "A Wild Exactitude" the New Yorker Magazine 1925-1950, magazine cover art from the Schmulowitz Collection open in April and May 2003 with a reception on April 12 in the Skylight Gallery. The Book Arts & Special Collections Librarian then discussed the publication of Inscriptions, by the Library in conjunction with the Book Club of California that highlights the historic Edward Robeson Taylor inscriptions in San Francisco ’s Old Main Library. Ms. Grimes then reported on other upcoming exhibits and programs including "Money to Burn" opening April 19th, "Form follows Content" on April 23rd, and "Calligraphia", the only such national calligraphic event now in its 30th year on June 1st. Ms. Grimes called the Commissioners’ attention to the eight exhibits, the very popular book appraisal clinic, and the publication of not only "Inscriptions" but also a book highlighting the scholarly work on the Zaph’s, internationally renowned German graphic designers exhibited at the Library "Zaphfest" last year. Ms. Grimes noted that the San Francisco Bay Guardian had honored the little magazine collections as a “Best of the Bay”, and called attention to the many class visits to the Department during the past year as well as an ongoing calligraphy study group, improvements to the homepage, and gifts received.
Ms. Estella Manila, the Filipino American Center Librarian, then presented a report of activities at the affinity center located on the Main Library’s 3rd floor international Center since its opening in 1966. Ms. Manila noted the Filipino American Center was the only one of its kind in the country tracing the 400 year history of the Filipino American Community and highlighted the wide variety of programs and exhibits that the center had held during recent years. Ms. Manila called attention to a bi-lingual English and Filipino book club which the Center had created to foster continued reading of Filipino literature in the original languages continuing the Center’s efforts to serve as a bridge between the Filipino American Community and the Philippines . Ms. Manila reported on the Center’s very successful six year history of two day independent film/video festivals that facilitated bringing Filipino and Filipino American filmmakers’ visions to a wider audience and called attention to the League of Filipino Students "Images of the Philippines" exhibit. The Filipino American Center Librarian then discussed in some detail planned programs for the coming months. The Filipino American Center’s Librarian then reported on the May book launch of a history of Maniliatown reflecting the story of the I-Hotel and events in June honoring Philippine hero Dr. José Rizal as well as a Filipino National History Month exhibit. Ms. Manila noted that the very popular “Through My Father’s Eyes” exhibit of pioneer Filipino American photographs was now part of the Smithsonian’s traveling exhibition series had begun here. Ms. Manila next discussed her extensive outreach activities to Bay Area school, high school, college, and University students as well as visits to the Filipino Veterans Center. Ms. Manila concluded her report noting that the center had recently been featured on a local Filipino TV program that was being distributed nationally and that this year the Center had received funding to purchase additional Filipino video/cd/dvd materials.
An anonymous member of the public noted that they were gratified to hear these reports, but noted that Book Arts & Special Collections, a library department not an affinity center, was the jewel of the library, focused on books and rooted in the community. This person additionally noted that it had been a matter of pride that the center was open the same hours as the library and expressed a hope that the Center would get back full open hours. This person recalled that Richard Harrison, donor of the calligraphic Collection, was a person of limited means who build this magnificent collection with personal relationships. Mr. Peter Warfield commented he liked to see more reports about Library collections and called attention to the library’s historic photograph collection that was located near the Book Arts & Special Collections Center . Mr. Warfield was particularly pleased with the discussion of the Old Main Library inscriptions and noted that the old card catalog was also accessible through the Center. Mr. Warfield suggested that there be more publicity when people entered the Main Library that would call attention to the tucked away Center. Mr. Warfield expressed hope that more Center materials would be cataloged and inquired if non-English language videos were also being cataloged.
In response to a question by Vice President Steiman, Ms. Grimes reported that many non-fragile items in the collections were digitized and accessible on the website. Ms. Manila informed Vice President Steiman that the Filipino Center’s films and videos were often subtitled. Commissioner Coulter lauded the dedicated work of the centers and recalled the original conception of these institutionalized links to the Community were modeled on the New York Public Library’s famed Schaumburg and Performing Arts Centers. Commissioner Coulter noted that the Friends & Foundation had helped build the affinity centers and that now the task was to see what more could be done to expand all of the centers, formalize ongoing outreach to each community, and harness each community’s passion and financial support to make all of the centers programs and facilities outstanding. Commissioner Chin noted the richness of the collections and their wide ranging activities and commended Ms. Manila and Ms. Grimes. Commissioner Chin called attention to the importance of Calligraphy as an art form in Chinese Culture and expressed hope that with the opening of the New Asian Art Museum in the old Main Library collaborative efforts could be undertaken. Ms. Grimes reported that a shared exhibition was planned for later in the year and urged the Commissioner to consider taking one of the Center’s calligraphy classes. In response to a question by President Higueras, the City Librarian noted that banner advertising for library programs had been used but on a limited basis as it was costly. In response to a question by Commissioner Bautista, Ms. Manila discussed efforts to connect with the original donors of the Filipino American Center and discussed how she was doing extensive outreach to bring in and involve the community in the center’s activities and programs. Ms. Manila noted that in its early years there were only a limited number of books in the Center and that now it was full.
AGENDA ITEM #6 FRIENDS & FOUNDATION REPORT
Friends & Foundation President Deborah Doyle reminded the Commissioners of the Annual Library Laureates Dinner on April 4th, this year with special honors for the 3 M’s Marjorie Stern, Mary Louise Stong, and Margaret "Mig" Mayer for their decades of leadership on behalf of San Francisco’s public libraries. Ms. Doyle also reminded the Commissioners of a Friends & Foundation reception honoring Board of Supervisors President Matt Gonzalez and newly elected Supervisors Fiona Ma and Bevan Dufty to be held on April 9th from in the Main Library’s Skylight Gallery. Ms. Doyle then reported that $15,000 in matching funds had been raised for an endowment honoring the life and work in the African American Community of the late Dr. Arthur Coleman. Ms. Doyle announced that the Bernard Osher Foundation had awarded a significant grant of $50,000 for each branch library to the Friends & Foundation as part of its support for the Branch Improvement Program. Ms. Doyle concluded her report by calling attention to $530,000 in grants that the Friends & Foundation had made in support of the Library.
Public commment: None offered.
Commissioner Bautista lauded the Friends & Foundation for their support for Library programs.
AGENDA ITEM #7 WAS NOT USED
AGENDA ITEM #8 LABOR UNION REPORT
Andrea Grimes, Librarian’s Guild, informed the Commission that there was no report this month.
AGENDA ITEM #9 NEW BUSINESS
Commissioner Bautista proposed discussion of appropriate signage to recognize Mr. Fuhrman’s support for the Library. Commissioner Coulter requested calendaring discussion of ways to increase affinity center activities and heighten their profile in the community. President Higueras commented that this discussion would benefit from receiving information about models, such as the Denver Public Library’s new African American center as well as what other libraries were doing to engage their communities. Commissioner Chin requested a report on proposed Summer activities for children and youth in light of the drastic reductions in Summer School resulting from the school district’s budget problems.
Mr. Peter Warfield suggested that there be a discussion of ways to improve signage in the entry areas of the Main Library to call attention to and direct users to the special collections and exhibitions. Mr. Warfield inquired as to how the public was being informed of what was available at the library.
AGENDA ITEM #10 PUBLIC COMMENT
An anonymous member of the public commented on the importance of soliciting discussion of underlying issues revealed by consideration of the Fuhrman Bequest. This person identified Mr. Fuhrman as a legendary labor leader who presented his gift to the library to facilitate his belief in its importance in educating working people about the ways society worked. This person suggested that that purpose had been institutionalized into providing support for business, that the Commissioners as trustees had allowed this change of intent, and that those who opposed this could have been brought in and involved in a serious discussion. Ms. Andrea Grimes rose to note that the success of the Book Arts & Special Collections Center rested on more than the work of one person and added acknowledgement for support provided for "A Wild Exactitude" by Library Public Affairs Chief Marcia Schneider , Suellen Bilow, and Almer Castillo; in Exhibitions & Programming, Joan Jasper, Everett Erlandson, Barbara MacMahan, Robin Uyeno, Norm Carlota, Ann Carroll; in Magazines and Newspapers, Shirley McLaughlin; in the Books Arts Center, Susie Taylor, John Erby, Chris Sheekey, Elise Wong, and Katherine Henry, as well as the assistance and support provided by the Friends & Foundation.
AGENDA ITEM #11 ADJOURNMENT
Motion: by Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Strobin that the meeting be adjourned at the recommendation of the President Higueras in honor the late Library Commission President, Commissioner, and benefactor Nate Schmulowitz on the anniversary of his magnificent gift to the Library.
Action: AYE 7-0 (Chin, Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, Streets, and Strobin)
The meeting was adjourned at 6:55PM
Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 4/9/03
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.
Library Commission meeting of April 1, 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: ?
available for viewing in PDF format
Explanatory Documents - April 1, 2003 Library Commission Meeting
City Librarian’s Report – April 1, 2003
City Librarian’s Report – 4/1/03
Daily demonstrations against the war are being held at the Larkin St. entrance from 12 – 1pm. Participants are library staff and members of the public.
Proposed State budget for 2003/04 reduces Public Library Fund from $32 million to $15 million, a $400,000 loss for San Francisco. Also proposed for elimination is $12 million for resource sharing that supports "seamless" use of public libraries with no use charges no matter where you live – this service could be eliminated with jurisdictions charging for non-resident users.
Legislative Day in Sacramento is April 30th to discuss important issues with local legislators.
A staff team comprised of Kathy Lawhun, Chief of Main, Donna Corbeil, Chief of Branches and Karen Strauss, 4th Floor Main Manager, will participate in Imagine It, Explore It, Create It conference sponsored by the California State Library at the Cerritos Library in May. Susan Hildreth will also participate as a member of the advisory committee for the project.
Paul Underwood, Deputy City Librarian and Shellie Cocking, Non-print Selector, Office of Children and Youth Services, will participate in the Urban Libraries Council Executive Leadership Institute and will attend the first leadership retreat during the week of April 4th , 2003, at the National Conference Center in Virginia.
The cell phone legislation being considered by the Board of Supervisors would regulate cell phone use in performance venues like the Koret Auditorium, not in the general library areas.
San Francisco Public Library, with support from the Friends & Foundation of the SFPL, and the Book Club of California, have published Inscriptions, focusing on the history of the engraved inscriptions at the Old Main Library. Available through the San Francisco History Center.
Programs that were highlighted include the 22nd Annual Bay Area Book Reviewer Awards on April 3rd, "Put It in Writing @ Your Library" on April 8th, "Money to Burn: The Chinese Use of Ritual Papers" on April 9th, "Grotto VI: Voyages" on April 15th, and the Effie Lee Morris Lecture featuring the San Souci Brothers on April 27th.
Exhibits that were highlighted include "A Wild Exactitude: The New Yorker, 1925-1950" and "The Hidden World of Caves: Caves of the Guadalupe Mountains".