SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION
(as approved October 2, 2003)
Minutes of the regular meeting of Thursday, September 4, 2003
The San Francisco Public Library Commission held its regular meeting
on Thursday, September 4, 2003 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.
President Higueras called the meeting to order at 4:07PM.
The following members were noted present: Commissioners Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, and Strobin. Commissioner Chin joined the meeting at 4:09PM. Commissioner Streets was reported as excused attendance.
President Higueras announced in view of the lengthy agenda public comment would be limited to two minutes on each item.
APPROVAL OF THE MAY 1, 2003 COMMISSION MINUTES
Vice President Steiman joined the meeting at 4:11PM.
Public comment on APPROVAL OF THE JUNE 5, 2003 COMMISSION MINUTES
An anonymous member of the Public called attention to Commissioner Coulter’s Page 3 comments on the importance of public process and noted that their reported Page 2 comment on the lack of justification of the price was not specific enough. Mr. Peter Warfield called inaccurate a Page 1 comment attributed to him concerning popular materials in the collection suggesting that he referred to the importance of breadth and depth in library collections. Mr. Warfield additionally noted that a Page 5 comment was not that he personally had not received Commission agenda materials but that they had not been made available to the public.
Commission discussion of APPROVAL OF THE JUNE 5, 2003 COMMISSION MINUTES
President Higueras and Commissioner Coulter suggested that Mr. Warfield’s comment on breadth and depth of collections be included.
MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Chin for approval of the June 5, 2003 Minutes as amended.
ACTION: 6-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, and Strobin)
AGENDA ITEM #2 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE JUNE 26, 2003 MEETING
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #2 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE JUNE 26, 2003 MEETING
An anonymous member of the public noted that an error in Mr. Hansen’s tenure as leader of the Golden Gate Park Band pointed out in previous minutes had been corrected, but that there were still inaccuracies in the reported Minutes concerning Ms. Hildreth’s remarks in the BLIP Manager’s Report discussion. This person also cited a lack of detail in the Bond Program Budget Review and the staff report and also cited comments by the City Librarian and the Branch Library Improvement Program Manager not reported. Mr. Peter Warfield found the Minutes lacking in detail specifically noting that his Page 1 comments were not reported as he had presented them.
Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #2 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE JUNE 26, 2003 MEETING
Commissioner Chin criticized that the Minutes were too long. President Higueras called the Secretary’s attention to an incomplete sentence in Ms. Thompson’s Report requesting it be corrected.
MOTION: by Commissioner Chin, seconded by Commissioner Bautista these Minutes be approved as amended to correct the incomplete sentence.
ACTION: 6-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, and Strobin)
AGENDA ITEM #3 CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT
City Librarian Susan Hildreth presented a report concerning: a Millennium update; a Ocean View Branch art report; an update on the Glen Park Marketplace, and exhibits and programs, (copy attached). Ms. Hildreth noted that though not listed on the agenda, that the Friends Annual Big Book Sale had begun that morning and that it seemed to be as popular this year as it had been in the past and recommended that everyone take part in this important annual fundraising benefit for the Library.
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #3 CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT
An anonymous member of the public observed that there was no report on litigation or the Library Heroes proposal. This person also noted rumors concerning the new Glen Park Branch and suggested that planning issues related to that new branch should be of interest to the Commission. Mr. Peter Warfield commented on the Board of Supervisors’ delaying final approval of the proposed new Glen Park Branch Library. Mr. Warfield also noted that while the Millennium migration seemed to have avoided major problems, there were problems that had not been reported and suggested that members of the public could provide help to identify problems.
Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #3 CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT
President Higueras lauded the Friends of the Library’s Annual Big book Sale noting that the bigger location and many volunteers would indicate that it would be very successful this year. In response to questions by President Higueras, it was noted that there would be a variety of training opportunities made available to familiarize library users with the new ILS system. In response to a question by Commissioner Bautista it was reported that Cantonese and Spanish language trainings would also be provided. Responding to a query by Vice President Steiman, it was noted that the problems with holds had largely been resolved and the City Librarian noted that more than 30,000 user reserves had
been migrated. The City Librarian responding to Vice President Steiman reported good tech support from the vendor. Commissioner Coulter noted the Wall of Heroes proposal was being circulated on a limited basis for comments and to clarify details, particularly concerning branch histories. He noted that a revised draft would be brought to the Commission for discussion soon with additional discussion and final approval at a subsequent meeting. Commissioner Coulter applauded the annual observance of Banned Books Week and inquired if there could be an emphasis on books that had been banned in Northern California. Commission Chin noted and expressed appreciation of City Librarian Susan Hildreth’s participation in the “first day at school” activities at Spring Valley School, California’s oldest public school. In response to a question by President Higueras Ms. Hildreth confirmed that the Arts Commission was taking an active role in the Ocean View Branch public art enhancements.
AGENDA #4 AFFINITY CENTERS REPORT
Chief of the Main Library Kathy Lawhun introduced 4th Floor Manager Karen Strauss to update the Commissioners on the activities of the Steve Silver Beach Blanket Babylon Center and Gardener Haskell, 5th Floor Manager, for an update on the Wallace Stegner Environmental Center.
Mr. Haskell presented a brief report outlining community outreach, recent programming and exhibitions, the permanent Wallace Stegner related items displayed, and an overview of the Center’s collections. Mr. Haskell noted that the Stegner Center addressed global environmental issues through the prism of being responsive to local needs and citied several recent local interest programs presented by the Stegner Center.
Ms. Strauss lauded the invaluable assistance and support provided to library users by Steve Silver Center Librarians Jason Gibbs and Pat Hall and described the Music, Art, and Recreation materials available at the Center. Ms. Strauss noted that the Silver Room served a mainly ceremonial purpose and that the there was a wide array of in the library and online resources available including aids to finding local artists, musicians, composers, and that orchestral scores were available to loan to community groups. Ms. Strauss reported one could find popular songs and called special attention to the resources available in the Library’s famed Dorothy Starr Collection of sheet music. She reported that more than 30,000 songs had been cataloged and that dedicated volunteers led by Librarian Jason Gibbs were working to add more materials to the data base. Ms Straus concluded her presentation by calling attention to an exhibit of music from the Starr Collection which would end on September 4th.
Public comment on AGENDA #4 AFFINITY CENTERS REPORT
Mr. Peter Warfield commented that he was pleased to learn about materials in the Library’s collections being exhibited and hoped more such exhibits occur. Mr. Warfield found disappointing the lack of details concerning the Stegner Center’s collections.
Commission discussion of AGENDA #4 AFFINITY CENTERS REPORT
In response to questions by President Higueras, Ms. Strauss discussed the nature of the ongoing relationship between the Steve Silver Center and Beach Blanket Babylon and called attention to the center’s ties to the Performing Arts Library and Museum (PALM). In answer to a query by Commissioner Strobin, Ms. Strauss noted that the Library’s Exhibition and Programs Department with support from the Friends of the Library funded Center programs and exhibits. Mr. Haskell pointed out that the entire collection of the Stegner Center was located in the Center and discussed the ongoing relationship with those friends of the Center who participated in the original effort to create it. Ms. Hildreth noted that the Friends of the Library also supported Stegner Center programming from a diminishing amount of funds that had been raised initially. Commissioner Coulter applauded the work of the Centers and noted that outreach to the communities supporting the centers was vital. He also inquired regarding original vision statements for the Stegner Center that had been expansive and called attention to the wide array of environmental groups, foundations, and resources in Northern California that could be brought into productive relationships with the Stegner Center. In response to a Commissioner Coulter query about library staffing for the affinity centers, Ms. Hildreth outlined resources available and noted that the Library’s Exhibitions and Programming Department devoted considerable portions of its resources to center programming and exhibits. Mr. Haskell noted that the Stegner Center’s original vision statement was currently being reviewed in an effort to fine tune it and Ms. Strauss noted that was no such formal statement for the Silver Center. Responding to a query by Commissioner Bautista, Ms. Strauss noted ongoing outreach to the full diversity of contemporary Bay Area composers including Asian Americans and that such music was actively being tracked down and obtained for the Center’s collections. President Higueras remarked that there were varying levels of success among the affinity centers and that the Library needed to help articulate vision and encourage ongoing community involvement and support to revive and re-engage involvement in them. Commissioner Bautista emphasized the importance of rebuilding ties to the original supporters and patrons of the Affinity Centers. Commissioner Chin noted that people who care stay involved and urged that the Centers embrace both a high and low approach so as to attract and involve both those with special interests and ordinary library users. President Higueras thanked the Library staff on behalf of the Commission for their dedication and hard work.
AGENDA #5 STRATEGIC PLAN 2003-06
Ms. Hildreth introduced Library Consultant Gail McPartland for an update and review of Strategic Plan changes resulting from the August 21, 2003 Public hearing. Ms. McPartland recapped the background of the plan’s development, citing the good input received from the August 21st Public Hearing. Ms. McPartland reported that the discussion had re--affirmed the Plan’s basic values noting: books and materials were the heart of the library; providing information in all formats through one collection with 27 service points was a key goal; and that libraries would serve as a community destination and gathering place. Ms. McPartland noted that while not everything of importance were highlighted, those topics would not be ignored but would be folded into the ongoing development of the plan as the next phase, development of means of implementation by staff, progressed.
Public comment on AGENDA #5 STRATEGIC PLAN UPDATE
An anonymous member of the public found that there was not much strategic about this plan questioning in particular how a Page 16 citation of maintaining research collections would be implemented. This person also commented that RFID was given unwarranted priority that could be inverse to its cost and that preserving the library’s past was the last priority. Mr. Peter Warfield found the proposed plan deficient and lacking in focus on collections, space for collections and access to collections which he noted were all POE Report recommendations. Mr. Warfield also found other collection related issues not addressed and that the issues with RFID not discussed.
Commission discussion of AGENDA #5 STRATEGIC PLAN UPDATE
Commissioners Bautista and Chin engaged in discussion with the City Librarian concerning the issues concerning appropriate outreach and President Higueras noted that the proof of the plan will be in its implementation. He noted that there were useful steps outlined and that a framework for action by the Commission was provided so that this was real, not pie in the sky. Regarding RFID, President Higueras suggested that there were many presumptions and fears about privacy with it. Ms. Hildreth noted that RFID was following a similar path used in the introduction of barcode labeling in libraries. Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood noted that staff had already reviewed RFID and begun to move toward a choice that would be brought forward in the discussion of next year’s budget. Commissioner Coulter called attention to concerns he had that the plan did not present a grand vision and noted deficiencies in details of the history sections. Commissioner Coulter then reviewed elements of each section that he recommended be improved to make the plan more robust, raise the level of priority of some areas, maintain the library’s high level of commitment to disabled access, and bring more stakeholder focus to the document. President Higueras noted that perhaps some of the points raised went into greater detail than was warranted in a strategic plan. Vice President Steiman noted that the reason RFID was so strongly spelled out was to let readers know what it was. Commissioner Coulter noted that specificity in such a plan can encourage involvement and guide choices based on identified community interest calling particular attention to educating the community concerning collection management issues. Ms. Hildreth responding to a comment by Commissioner Coulter explained that RFID’s role was much broader and more useful that just in protecting the collection and emphasized its importance in reducing repetitive stress injuries and enhancing public access to the collection. The City Librarian agreed that a brochure discussing what was intended in the Strategic Plan would be useful. (a minor earthquake felt during the meeting a 6:42PM) President Higueras called attention to several sections that he felt could be improved to emphasize core activities, respond to new users, strengthen outreach, and refocus on programs and the Library’s collections. Commission Bautista pointed out that the sections on the affinity centers called attention to their uniqueness and highlighted treasures of the Library’s collections as well as reflected the involvement of the whole community with the Library. President Higueras remarked that the revised plan should be brought back for approval at its October meeting.
President Higueras called for a recess at 6:49PM.
President Higueras left the meeting during the recess.
The Commission returned to session at 7: 01PM.
AGENDA #6 GIFT RECOGNITION POLICY
City Librarian Susan Hildreth introduced Martin Gomez, Executive Director, Friends of the Library, for a presentation on a proposed Gift Recognition Policy (copy attached) for the Friends’ Capital Campaign for the Branch Libraries. Mr. Gomez highlighted the Friends of the Library’s goal of raising $16 million for the branches and outlined their proposed inclusive process to be used in the Neighborhood Libraries Campaign.
Public comment on AGENDA #6 GIFT RECOGNITION POLICY
An anonymous member of the public suggested that this item had not been properly noted and that this person preferred that gifts be made directly to the Library. This person commented that if the Library were to do interesting and important things for those without money, that that would result in attracting those with money to contribute to the Library. Mr. Peter Warfield commented that the proposed policy seemed a give away of public assets to a private group without sufficient accountability and possibly incurring unfounded mandates that would result in ongoing costs to the Library.
Commission discussion of AGENDA #6 GIFT RECOGNITION POLICY
Commissioner Coulter noted that this policy would be a Commission Policy and that the proposed donor books would become part of the Library’s history. Commissioners Chin and Bautista expressed frustration with those who do not contribute to the Library voicing objections to the Library receiving financial support from those who contribute to support the Library. Commissioner Chin found nothing objectionable in wealthy individuals giving to benefit the Library. In response to questions by Vice President Steiman, it was reported that donor recognition plaques would be brought before the Commission for review and that additionally the Library Commission would review and approval all exceptions made to the Policy. The City Librarian pointed out that donor signage would be developed in tandem with the new standard signage being developed throughout the Library.
AGENDA #7 FRIENDS REPORT
Ms. Deborah Doyle, President of the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, called the Commission’s attention to the Annual Big Book Sale then ongoing at Fort Mason. Ms. Doyle lauded the cooperation between Library staff and Friends and urged that everyone take part. Ms. Doyle updated the Commissioners on the City Arts & Lectures program and recent development in the Neighborhood Libraries Campaign. Ms. Doyle then announced award of a major $50,000 gift to the Library from the Silver Giving Fund. The President of the Friends also informed the Commissioners that, in everyday use, the Library’s community support organization would use the simpler Friends of the San Francisco Public Library as its title. Ms. Doyle informed the Commissioners that the Friends were in negotiation for a new office location which could mean their moving out of the Main Library. Ms. Doyle also informed the Commission of a letter of inquiry sent by the Friends concerning use of Prop. E (Library Preservation Fund) monies for school district purposes as appropriated by the Board of Supervisors.
Public comment on AGENDA #7 FRIENDS REPORT
Commission discussion of AGENDA #7 FRIENDS REPORT
Commissioner Coulter thanked the Friends for their support for the Library.
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 their view that donations should only be made directly to the Library in response to a discussion among the Commissioners concerning individuals raising money for the Library and the Foundation acting as the exclusive Library- authorized organization authorized to raise funds. Mr. Ed Regan recommended that all libraries be open from 6AM until Midnight, seven days per week, every day of the year. Mr. Regan also recommended each branch have tables for reading while standing and that there be a labor collection in each containing corporate bylaws and recent union contracts. Mr. Peter Warfield expressed appreciation for Commissioners comments, especially on the Strategic Plan. Mr. Warfield commented that he had no plans to collect money on behalf of the Library, suggesting that the Library’s granting privileged rights to raise funds, and it created inequality when only one organization was allowed to do so.
AGENDA ITEM #11 CLOSED SESSION
Chaffee v. Brown, et al, SF Superior Court, CGC-02-406387
MOTION: by Commissioner Coulter, seconded by Commissioner Bautista that the Library Commission assert the attorney-client privilege and convene in closed session under Government Code Section 54956.9(a) and San Francisco Administrative Code Section 67.10(d)(1) to confer with, and receive advice from the City Attorney regarding pending litigation as discussion in open session concerning this matter would likely and unavoidably prejudice the position of the City in the pending litigation listed above.
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #11 CLOSED SESSION
An anonymous member of the public commented concerning what this person supposed the Deputy City Attorney might tell the Commissioners regarding this lawsuit. This person also pointed out that with regard to the issues involved that the Board of Supervisors had exercised their authority to bypass the Library Commission, noting that this person disagreed with Supervisor Daly’s actions in this regard. Mr. Warfield requested clarification of what the proposed closed session was about.
ACTION: AYE 5-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Steiman, and Strobin)
The Library Commission went into closed session at 7:33PM.
The Library Commission returned to open session at 8:16PM
It was reported that no action had been taken during the closed session.
MOTION: by Commissioner Coulter, seconded by Commissioner Bautista that the Commission finds that it is in the best interests of the public that the Commission not disclose its closed session deliberations concerning the pending litigation cited above.
ACTION: AYE 5-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Steiman, and Strobin)
AGENDA ITEM #12 ADJOURNMENT
MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Strobin that the meeting be adjourned.
ACTION: AYE 5-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Steiman, and Strobin)
The meeting was adjourned at 8:17PM
Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 9/12/03 (as approved October 2, 2003)
Please note: Minutes subject to change by the Library Commission. Copies of Commission Minutes and handouts are available in the Office of the Commission Secretary, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Minutes of the regular Commission Meeting of September 4, 2003
Library Commission meeting of September 4, 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 – 9/4/03
The Millennium migration was successful and the Library opened with a new online system on August 27th. There are a few glitches that need to be addressed but the migration was a great success overall. Users like and understand the new system.
The Ocean View Library will receive enhanced public art which is supported by funds for the Branch Capital Campaign and was the priority of the community. There may be minimal closures in the next few months to install the art, which includes literacy quotes on the 1st floor walls, painting on the ceiling and stairwell, enhanced flooring on the 2nd floor, additional ceramic tile and storytelling figures on the walls in the storytelling room.
The Glen Park MarketPlace project was continued by the Board of Supervisors until the first meeting in September. Although supportive of the Library purchase and sale agreement, some other issues regarding the project came to light and Supervisor Peskin, chair of the Finance Committee, wanted to find out more information on those issues. The Elder Arts exhibit is on display on the 6th floor and the Jewett Gallery until mid-October. There will be a program on Banned Books on September 25th and a celebration of William Saroyan on September 28th. The Poet Laureate Devorah major has initiated her keynote project “City Reflections: War and Peace on Our Streets” which includes monthly featured poems in the “ At the Public Library”, on the Library’s website and in the San Francisco Chronicle Book Section. The project will culminate in an exhibit to be held in April 2004.