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Library Commission Minutes - June 5, 2003

SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION Minutes of the regular meeting of Thursday, June 5, 2003 (As approved amended September 4, 2003) The San Francisco Public Library Commission held its regular meeting on Thursday, June 5, 2003 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library. Vice President Steiman called the meeting to order at 4:14PM The following members were noted present: Commissioners Chin, Coulter, Steiman, and Streets. President Higueras’ arrival was expected shortly. Commissioner Strobin was reported excused attendance. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- APPROVAL OF THE MAY 1, 2003 COMMISSION MINUTES President Higueras joined the meeting at 4:17PM. Public comment on APPROVAL OF THE MAY 1, 2003 COMMISSION MINUTES An anonymous member of the Public noted lack of report of this person’s comments concerned their lawsuit against the Library’s survival of Summary Judgment. This person also suggested that their comments concerning the discussion of Collection Management were not accurately reported, concluding that for these reasons the Minutes did not meet the requirements of the Sunshine Ordinance. Mr. Ed Regan believed his comments to be accurately reported. Mr. Peter Warfield suggested that his own critical comments concerning providing of meeting explanatory materials was not included. Mr. Warfield also noted that his principal concern about collection management suggested that collections lacking breath and depth with too much popular material could be a serious problem. Commission discussion of APPROVAL OF THE MAY 1, 2003 COMMISSION MINUTES Commissioner Coulter suggested revision of the Minutes to show that 5:45PM had been the original announced time when the meeting’s quorum would be lost, proposed inclusion of comments concerning the anonymous member of the public’s lawsuit, and clarified his Collection Management discussion remarks suggesting that the Library needed to do a better job in explaining Collection Management. MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Chin for approval of the May 1, 2003 Minutes as amended ACTION: 6-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, and Streets) President Higueras assumed the Chair at 4:24PM. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA ITEM #2 PORTOLA BRANCH PURCHASE & SALE AGREEMENT Branch Library Improvement Program Manager Marilyn Thompson and Mr. Charlie Dunn, Real Estate Division, Department of Administrative Services provided an extensive overview of the issues discussed in the City Librarian’s May 31 memorandum (copy attached) in support of the staff recommendation that the Commissioners approve a resolution recommending and requesting that the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor approve the proposed purchase of 380 Bacon street, a property on a portion of the grounds of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School for $1,287,000 as the site for the new Portola Branch Library. Ms. Thompson noted that the price was within the budget and that negotiations for a contract with architects Stoner Meek/Noll Tam. It was noted that a Prop. 14 (State Library Bond) Application for this project could be submitted in January 2004. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #2 PORTOLA BRANCH PURCHASE & SALE AGREEMENT Ms. Chris Ortiz, CNL Rep for Portola Branch reported that the neighborhood was very excited by this proposal and hoped that it could be done as quickly as possible. Ms. Carol Hyde, 12 year Portola resident, noted that the current branch was located in an area of dangerously heavy traffic and that she was much happier with the new more central, within walking distance of most of the neighborhood, site. She also favored space for a community room. Ms. Cheryl Oliger, a weekly user of the Branch with her child, noted that the current branch was inadequate and that the new more accessible site would be a big improvement. She urged the Commission to approve the purchase. Ms. Pat Delaney, Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School Librarian, expressed strong support for this proposal, citing its deepening of an excellent cooperative relationship between the Library and the schools and provided the Commissioners with a detailed list of benefits to the community this relationship had already provided. Mr. Ed Regan suggested that the branch library could not accommodate both the students and other users citing in his view the negative experience of the new Ocean View Branch. Mr. Regan also felt that the Branch should be located in a business area rather than in the middle of the neighborhood and expressed concern that the proposed building was too small. An anonymous member of the public expressed reservations about use of the new facility’s meeting room as a homework center, concerning its location away from San Bruno, and found the proposed $1.2 million price too high for property described as as-is with faults included. Mr. Peter Warfield expressed concern that: there appeared to be insufficient discussion about books in the proposed branch; the price was too high; that there might be toxics on the site; and questioned who had done the appraisal. Mr. Richard Walsh, 27 year resident of Portola neighborhood, commented that the proposed location was very close to several schools and being two blocks from busy San Bruno Avenue was safer for children and the elderly with more parking easily available. Mr. Walsh pointed out that good directional signage would help users easily locate the new branch and urged that the Commissioners approve the purchase. Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #2 PORTOLA BRANCH PURCHASE & SALE AGREEMENT In answer to a question by President Higueras regarding how the value of the property was established and what was meant by the “as-is” language in the proposed agreement, Charlie Dunn, Real Estate Division, explained the intricacies of interagency property transactions and informed the Commissioners that the appraisal by Clifford & Associates, a MAI and City certified vendor, had been carefully reviewed by both the School District and the City. The “as-is” notation was reported to be standard contract language in this kind of transaction and it was noted that there was very limited exposure with this formerly residential site. Marilyn Thompson reported Geotech review completed and that a Phase I study would be undertaken. In response to Commissioner Bautista’s question it was reported that a due diligence clause would allow the Library to walk away from the agreement should hidden problems appear. President Higueras asked if there were any reason to think there will be problems and was informed there were none. In answer to a query by Commissioner Coulter concerning inclusion of a community room, Ms. Hildreth noted that every effort would be made to overcome the challenges involved in finding a flexible space in the proposed 6,000 sq. ft. building. Vice President Steiman called attention to the importance of good directional signage to the new branch location. President Higueras called attention to the importance of the branch being close to schools, noting it would be of help in applying for Prop. 14 (State Library Bond) funds for the project. Commissioner Chin pointed out that the school libraries serve students from outside neighborhood, and that the new Portola Branch would serve neighborhood children. Commissioner Bautista additionally noted that good school libraries were available to students in the area and there should not be a concern about any potential for a battle for space in the branch between students and neighborhood users. MOTION: by Vice President Steiman, seconded by Commissioner Bautista approving the proposed resolution requesting Board of Supervisors approval of the proposed Purchase and Sale agreement for the new Portola Branch Library. ACTION: 6-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, and Streets) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA ITEM #3 CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood presented the regular monthly report (copy attached). At 5PM President Higueras surrendered the chair to Vice President Steiman and left the meeting with the City Librarian to welcome California’s First Lady Mrs. Sharon Davis for a ceremony in the Main Library’s Children’s Center. Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood informed the Commissioners concerning Mrs. Davis’ book event. President Higueras rejoined the meeting at 5:16PM. Commissioner Bautista left the meeting at 5:17PM. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #3 CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT Mr. Peter Warfield expressed concern that: collection procedures were being streamlined; noted it would be important to hear staff input. Mr. Ed Regan objected to the proposed closure of the Main Library during the Gay Freedom Day event noting that Sunday was an important day for some library users and commented on the $150,000 Fuhrman Fund expenditures for materials on politics and economics. Mr. Regan suggested more information on state governments be included in Fuhrman fund acquisitions. An anonymous member of the public expressed disappointment that there was no report on the “Freedom to Read Act” program and commended the City Librarian for writing a newspaper editorial in defense of library users’ rights. This person also inquired regarding details of the Fuhrman Fund signage, suggested that it would have been more appropriate that the Commission authorize it, and expressed wish that written materials had been made available on report topics. Ms. Jeannene Przyblyski, Friends of Noe Valley, noted that it was sometimes difficult to follow the complex details reported in the budget and expressed concern about possible funding shortfalls in the Branch Library Improvement Program. Ms. Przyblyski suggested that available surplus funds might be earmarked for enhancements to the Branch Library Improvement Program such as expansion for the Parkside Branch and noted she had been a youth user of the Cerritos Library highlighted in the report. Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #3 CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood clarified that ongoing efforts to coordinate and streamline ordering for the collection were aimed at reducing duplication of effort and thus making more resources available by eliminating redundant processing and would improve even more under the new ILS system. Vice President Steiman noted an integrated ordering process would save valuable staff time. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA #4 NEW WEBSITE DEMO Roberto Esteves, Chief of IRMO, presented an overview of the library’s new website calling attention to its many improved features and greater ease of use. Mr. Esteves noted that a new reality was that thousands of people used the library’s resources even when the buildings are closed through internet access to materials and collections. Ms. Cathy Nyhan, then discussed the yearlong Netcom Project and highlighted that information was now available in Chinese as well as English and Spanish. Ms. Nyhan called attention to the new website’s ease of detailed searches using basic searching and called attention to the advance search features. Mr. Esteves called attention to the exemplary work done by library staff team, citing Anthony Costa in particular; who built the website’s 1,651 pages in what was truly a staff project. Public comment on AGENDA #4 NEW WEBSITE DEMO None offered Commission discussion of AGENDA #4 NEW WEBSITE DEMO Mike Hoffman was identified as the Library’s Webmaster and the work of the Netcom Committee highlighted in response to a question by President Higueras. Commissioner Coulter congratulated Roberto and the Library staff team for a job well done. City Librarian Susan Hildreth commended the Library staff and praised their hard work that had produced the new website. Ms. Hildreth also called attention to Friends & Foundation’s funding support for usability study for the project. In answer to a question by Commissioner Chin, it was noted that the website could facilitate greater ease of access to ebooks and that new technology will allow download later this year. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA #5 STRATEGIC PLAN UPDATE Ms. Hildreth brought the Commissioners up to date about the ongoing development of the Library’s Strategic Plan, noting that this item had been continued from a previous meeting and introduced Library Consultant Gail McPartland for a discussion of the developments resulting from the April 23, 2003 Community Planning Committee meeting (meeting notes attached) . It was next reported that the staff focus group was preparing materials for a further discussion at a June 18th Community Planning Committee Meeting from which staff could then develop a draft plan to bring to the Library Commission in July for a widely noticed public discussion. Following that discussion the draft plan with any further refinement as needed would be brought to the Library Commission for its review and possible approval in August. The City librarian pointed out that the service plans being developed for the branch libraries in preparation for submission of Prop. 14 (State Library Bond) applications in January 2004 benefited from important input gained through the strategic planning process. Public comment on AGENDA #5 STRATEGIC PLAN UPDATE An anonymous member of the public found no clear description of what the documents being presented represented, a working document or a completed work. This person also found troubling the lack of a clear definitions, noted that this plan would have impact on library plans, and did not see anything useful in that respect. This person also urged the Commission to make the plan their own. Mr. Peter Warfield complained that he had received the materials just prior to the meeting and commented that a participant in the community process had been troubled by the choices presented, and was troubled that no option for books was presented. Ms. Mary Ann Duke asked support for more books. Commission discussion of AGENDA #5 STRATEGIC PLAN UPDATE The City Librarian noted that the materials discussed had been distributed and available for some time in a previous agenda packet. Vice President Steiman, a participant in the planning process, emphasized that books were understood to be key to all services and noted most of what the Library does involves books. Commissioner Chin left the meeting at 5:59PM. President Higueras called for a recess at 6:03PM Vice President Steiman left the meeting during the recess. The Commission returned to session at 6:21PM -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA #6 BLIP ADVISORY COMMITTEE EXPANSION The City Librarian provided an overview of the previous discussions and developments in the proposed revision of the BLIP Advisory Committee noting that the Library Commission had emphasized that citizen involvement in branch library projects was very important. The City Librarian noted that this item would provide an opportunity for further discussion but that the proposed revision was not yet ready for action. The City Librarian noted that a 21 member body could be workable and discussed several civic organizations that had been proposed to appoint a member to the committee. Ms. Hildreth pointed out that as proposed the new BLIP Advisory Committee should be a committee of the Commission, which could elect its chair, could conduct bond program oversight activities in accordance with its charge, and that the Commission Secretary would staff its bi-monthly meetings. Ms. Hildreth noted that the proposed advisory body should focus on Branch Library Improvement Program activities which could include related collection development issues but that perhaps an ad hoc study group would be a better way to address Library collection development in general. The City Librarian noted that the Commission had taken a strong position in support of and protective of neighborhoods having direct input into plans for their local branch. Public comment on AGENDA #6 BLIP ADVISORY COMMITTEE EXPANSION An anonymous member of the public expressed their support for the plan originally proposed by Supervisor Yee and objected in particular that Supervisors be permitted to make direct appointments without reference to their Rules Committee process. Mr. Ed Regan did not favor a committee that was just for the bond program. Ms. Susan Hall, Richmond Democratic Club, presented the Commissioners with a copy of a resolution adopted by her club urging the Board of Supervisors to appoint an oversight committee and suggested that the proposed advisory body was too limited in scope, that it should be autonomous from the Library, set its own agenda, and hold monthly meetings. Mr. Peter Warfield agreed with previous speakers expressing concern with: the proposed charge that he found weaker than previously discussed; inquired regarding what its role and powers would be; suggested crucial issues were being buried; and expressed happiness that no action would be taken and that the proposed committee would be subject to the Sunshine Ordinance. Mr. Glen Ramisky, Friends & Foundation, expressed support for the revised BLIP proposal. Ms. Jean Chaitin asked why the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods should not be given an appointment to the proposed committee and urged that it meet at least monthly. Ms. Mary Ann Duke expressed support for a strong independent citizen advisory body, suggesting that the Main Library had dominated the process. Ms. Sue Cauthen noted that the Neighborhood Library Coalition had made many compromises in seeking a real independent community based body, that the proposed committee was too large and contained too many city employees, that the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods should have an appointment, and that the Commission should not have the power to make changes. Ms. Deborah Doyle, Friends & Foundation, spoke in favor of the proposed revised BLIP Advisory Committee and noted that it would encourage public participation. Commission discussion of AGENDA #6 BLIP ADVISORY COMMITTEE EXPANSION President Higueras suggested that the BLIP Advisory Committee would be most effective and useful if focused on the overall design and construction issues involved in the Branch Bond Program with appropriate attention given to related collection management and maintenance issues. Individual branch projects he strongly noted should remain focused on input from their neighborhoods in a dialogue among the Library, designers, and the community of users of a particular branch. The Commission he noted had learned from an initial mis-step in planning for the Richmond Branch to involve the community in the process from the beginning. President Higueras remarked that the BLIP Committee should focus on the larger issues of the Bond Program and remain non-biased concerning individual branch programs. In particular, he noted BLIP Committee members should not attempt to impact individual projects but focus their attention on completing all of the branch projects. Commissioner Coulter pointed out that addressing how to provide an adequate level of public input into government process was very important topic, and that finding effective ways to reach out and bring in robust public participation was challenging. Commissioner Coulter said that it was important to value criticism and bring critics into the process, suggesting that services provided would be improved by open dialogue. Commissioner Coulter recommended that an orderly structured process be created to bring in, educate, and involve public participation, noting that if the committee became politicized it would be ineffective. Commissioner Coulter noted that staffing was critical and recommended that staff be assigned to work with an appointed chair, who could organize and lead the committee, set its agenda, and address all of the items on the table. Commissioner Coulter remarked that the Library had not done a sufficient job in bringing in and educating the public about collection development. Commissioner Coulter expressed reservations with Supervisorial appointments and suggested involving elderly, youth, those dedicated to intellectual freedom, and not just neighborhood activists. Commissioner Coulter suggested considering the advisory model used by the School District and recommended that an annual report with goals and accomplishments be done. He also wanted to hear from current BLIP Advisory Committee members and members of the Council for Neighborhood Libraries. Commissioner Streets pointed out that the Library Commissioners served at the pleasure of the Mayor and should not make decisions that could have long-term impact without careful consideration. Commissioner Streets found it unwise to combine the role of the BLIP Advisory Committee with addressing issues such as collection development and urged that a clear process be created. Commissioner Chin noted that the people had voted for a clearly spelled out Bond Program and that this process was well underway. She noted that a principal concern must be how each branch will be done to best serve its community within the money available. Commissioner Chin pointed out that it was the Commission’s role to consider and make these decisions after input from library professionals and from library users. She asked how many neighborhood review bodies the Library needed, and suggested that structures were already in place to bring in public participation. President Higueras pointed out that members of the public were already very actively involved in advising the Branch Library Improvement Program, that the branch communities were all actively involved, and that the Commission should respond to real issues not red herrings. Commissioner Chin pointed to the reality of limited space and limited funds and suggested that it was important to help communities understand these limitations. Commissioner Streets noted that it was not a good idea to mix fundamental institutional issues with a focused seven year program. Commissioner Chin noted that originally the major emphasis of Supervisor Yee’s proposal was to provide a means for greater representation for the Asian community. President Higueras proposed that other models be reviewed and considered before an alternative was chosen. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA #7 FRIENDS & FOUNDATION REPORT Ms. Deborah Doyle, President of the friends & Foundation provided the Commissioners with an overview of Friends and Foundation Summer activities, book sales, and author talks. Ms. Doyle called attention to the ongoing membership drive and noted plans to create neighborhood committees to support the Capital Campaign for the Branch Libraries. Ms. Doyle then highlighted this year’s $563,429 in grants by the Friends & Foundation calling attention to support for Project Read, Library exhibits and programs, High School & Beyond and support for educational opportunities for Library staff, the Main Library Wall of Heroes, and competitive $5,000 grants for neighborhood history projects at Mission, for the Sunset District, and Park Branches. Public comment on AGENDA #7 FRIENDS & FOUNDATION REPORT Mr. Ed Regan recalling the Friends support for furnishings at the Main Library and some branch libraries suggested that they consider purchase of comfortable chairs and tables so that one could read while standing for the new and renovated branch libraries. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA #8 LABOR UNION REPORT No report was offered. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA #9 NEW BUSINESS No new business was proposed. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA #10 PUBLIC COMMENT An anonymous member of the public discussed the issues involved in a lawsuit regarding how the Library handled Prop. E funds this person had filed against the Library and called attention to comments by Commissioner Coulter regarding the importance of process and bringing in those with criticisms. Ms. Jeannene Przyblyski, Friends of Noe Valley, observed that the experience of the Noe Valley Branch with the Branch Library Improvement Program had been good and expressed concern that a polarized debate about the nature of the BLIP Advisory Committee could drive away ordinary library users and lose sight of point that branches fit into a larger picture. Mr. Ed Regan found the discussion concerning the BLIP Advisory Committee useful and suggested that the Library print a pamphlet listing all of its committees and those who served on them. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA ITEM #11 ADJOURNMENT MOTION: by Commissioner Coulter, seconded by Commissioner Bautista that the meeting be adjourned. ACTION: AYE 4-0 (Chin, Coulter, Higueras, and Streets) The meeting was adjourned at 7:46PM Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 9/8/03 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 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Minutes of the regular Commission Meeting of June 05, 2003 Appendix A 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 – June 5, 2003 Library Budget – The Mayor has released his proposed 2003/04 budget including the Library budget at $54.8 million. The Main Library will be closed on Sunday, June 29th due to Gay Pride Parade activities in Civic Center. Paul Underwood and Shellie Cocking updated the Commission on the Urban Libraries Council Executive Leadership collection development project. A team of staff members attended the Imagine It conference sponsored by the California State Library at the Cerritos Public Library. Friends & Foundation 2003/04 allocations for the Library were announced and totaled. $589,429. Signage plans for the Small Business Center acknowledging the Fuhrman Fund contribution were announced. The Library’s redistribution program received a Certificate of Appreciation and was celebrated in a concert by Kundirana, from the Philippines. Exhibit highlights for June include Kalligraphia Ten, an Exhibition by the Members of the Friends of Calligraphy, June 1 – July 31, Skylight Gallery; Awakening from the California Dream, June 2 – July 28, Jewett Gallery; and Min-Sok, Korean Heritage in San Francisco, June 14 – August 21, International Center.