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Library Commission Minutes - October 16, 2003

SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION Minutes of the regular meeting of Thursday, October 16, 2003. (As approved amended January 20, 2004) The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, October 16, 2003 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library. President Higueras called the meeting to order at 4:00pm. The following members were noted present: Commissioners Bautista, Chin, Coulter and Higueras. Commissioners Steiman, and Streets, and Strobin were excused. The following members were noted present: Commissioners Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, and Strobin. Commissioner Chin’s arrival was expected to be delayed. Commissioner Streets was excused. Commissioner Chin joined the meeting at 4:12PM Agenda Items: 1. Approval of September 18, 2003 Minutes 2. Bond Program Manager's Report 3. Commission Meetings Schedule 4. Library History Plaques 5. Public Comment 6. ADJOURNMENT 7. APPENDIX A -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE September 18, 2003 COMMISSION MEETING Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE September 18, 2003 COMMISSION MEETING An anonymous member of the public commented that some of this person’s remarks related to the Bond Program Manager’s Report, the Gift Recognition Policy, and the discussion of the History Plaques were either not reported or reflected inaccurately. Mr. Peter Warfield found a number of omissions in the reported minutes citing comments by Vice President Steiman on page 1, and regarding questions he had asked during the discussion of the Strategic Plan. Mr. Warfield noted that there was no report of comments by the Bond Program Manager or his responses to her remarks concerning Program plans’ impact on collections and public service, and found inadequate report of his comments in opposition to approval of the Gift Recognition Policy. Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE September 18, 2003 COMMISSION MEETING President Higueras noted that he was reported as voting for adjournment on October 16th although he had not attended the meeting and requested that that vote be corrected. Commissioner Coulter suggested revisions in the discussion of the History Plaques regarding a more complete listing of those who contributed to the revisions and also noted that the record should reflect that he had noted that the Commission had already approved the concept of the plaques and that funds were available. Commissioner Coulter additionally suggested that the anonymous member of the public had suggested that the plaques were full of inaccuracies but no response was offered when Commissioner Coulter invited this person to cite specifics that should be changed. MOTION: Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Strobin that the September 18, 2003 Minutes be approved as amended. ACTION: AYE 6-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, and Strobin) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA ITEM #2 BOND PROGRAM MANAGER’S REPORT Branch Library Improvement Program Manager Marilyn Thompson noted that that there would be no informational report at this meeting. The Branch Improvement Program Manager then presented a Budget Report dated October 16, 2003, and then the current Schedule, Active Projects, and Community Outreach update reports with associated slides, (copies attached). The Branch Library Improvement Program Manager concluded her report noting that there was no special report this month. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #2 BOND PROGRAM MANAGER’S REPORT An anonymous member of the public commented on the brevity of the reports offered on many projects presented suggesting that this brevity concealed significant details this person knew about. This person additionally discussed a North Beach neighborhood controversy concerning acquisition of a site by eminent domain. Mr. Peter Warfield noted that the explanatory documents related to Bond Program projects and activities presented were not available in advance. Mr. Warfield suggested that the great amount of information presented was too much to review when first presented at a meeting. Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #2 BOND PROGRAM MANAGER’S REPORT Responding to a question by Vice President Steiman concerning the new Glen Park Branch, the City Librarian reported that discussions about the sale of the project to a new developer were underway but that all agreements made with the original developer as provided in the Purchase and Sale Agreement would be binding on the new owner. In response to a question by President Higueras, Ms. Hildreth discussed the background of the various proposals put forward for alternative plans instead of the Library's proposed renovation of the current North Beach Branch on its current site. The City Librarian noted that the Library had had a very limited role in these discussions and any activities concerning acquisition of a 4,000 sq. ft. parking lot at 701 Lombard would be undertaken by the Recreation and Park Commission and the Board of Supervisors. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA ITEM #3 2004 COMMISSION MEETINGS SCHEDULE City Librarian Susan Hildreth recommended approval of the proposed schedule (copy attached) of meetings for 2004. Ms. Hildreth pointed out that the January meetings would be held on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday. For the rest of the year, meetings were proposed to be held on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month, except for the months of July and August. Deputy City Attorney Catharine Barnes called attention to a typographical error on the explanatory document listing a proposed meeting on January 15th suggesting it be eliminated. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #3 GIFT RECOGNITION POLICY An anonymous member of the public noted that there was historical precedent for fewer meetings during the Summer months. This person also suggested that the start time for meeting be moved back to 5:30pm. Mr. Peter Warfield agreed with the previous speaker calling for a return to a later start time suggesting that the 4pm start time was a barrier for some who wished to attend Commission meetings. Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #3 2004 COMMISSION MEETING SCHEDULE President Higueras suggested that a new Commission might wish to revisit the start time but that the current 4pm was acceptable to him. MOTION: Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Steiman for approval of the proposed Commission Meetings Schedule for 2004 with the elimination of the January 15th date. ACTION: AYE 6-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, and Strobin) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA ITEM # 4 LIBRARY HISTORY PLAQUES Commissioner Steve Coulter called attention to the addition of items suggested at previous meetings related to non-English Language Collections as well as the early days of the Council for Neighborhood Libraries. Commissioner Coulter then pointed out formatting improvements designed to make the plaques easier to read. He noted that there were a number of other issues still under consideration for inclusion as well as continuing efforts to clean up any typographical and spelling errors. President Higueras suggested that the revised draft should be posted on the Library's website with clear indicators to help call attention to the proposed history and direct anyone who might be interested how to submit comment. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM # 4 LIBRARY HISTORY PLAQUES An anonymous member of the public found the entire proposal questionable but in particular felt that the section related to the late former City Librarian John Franz unworthy characterization of his memory. Ms. Cathy Bremer, Librarian’s Guild, suggested that this history would be more appropriate on the website rather than engraved plaques. Ms. Bremer also noted that donors rather than staff members, city librarians, or even commissioners were honored in the proposed history and that perhaps these plaques would be more appropriately located in the future home of the Friends of the Library. Ms. Andrea Grimes, Special Collections Librarian, commented that the Library rather than any special interest should assume responsibility for any placing history on its walls. Ms. Grimes found the proposed plaques exclusionary, and lacking in proper credit to those who founded the free public library. Ms. Grimes suggested instead a brochure, a website posting of a history developed by the library staff, and creation of an exhibition of a timeline of the Library's history at the Grove Street entry. Mr. Jim Kirwin expressed opposition to the proposed plaques as flawed and a travesty. Mr. Kirwin disparaged the proposed title and challenged the accuracy of the history, suggesting that the true story was best left to writers and to books. He suggested instead plaques list books available in the Library's collection on the history of the old and new Main Library and inquired regarding the proposed appearance of the plaques. Mr. Tom Carey, Main Library Librarian, questioned the accuracy of a report on the number of exhibits and suggested that there was division among library staff between those who received support from the Friends and those who did not. He suggested that the history did not belong on plaques, but instead in a brochure or in several cited books. Mr. Carey in particular questioned appropriateness of a single Commissioner’s authorship of these plaques. Mr. Peter Warfield echoed comments concerning the book, Inscriptions, chronicling quotations engraved throughout the old Main Library and questioned the inclusivity of the point of view that shaped this history Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM # 4 LIBRARY HISTORY PLAQUES Commissioner Coulter again repeated his request that anyone who felt that important stories that were missing come forward and join in improving the completeness of this history. Commissioner Coulter noted that the history's predominant emphasis on non-staff citizen activists rather than staff was the result of the way that this proposal evolved from the initial proposal for two plaques to the current much expanded version. Commission Coulter proposed to recheck portions related to former City Librarian John Franz and other sections called into question. Commissioner Coulter noted that his role was more of gatherer of materials brought to him by the activists and actual participants in the Library's history, longtime library staff, former Commissioners, and others in the community with a long history with the Library. Commissioner Coulter noted that this was an evolving document and that more changes would be incorporated. Vice President Steiman found the current proposal a bit wordy and suggested that perhaps plaques featuring important quotes as existed in the Old Main Library might work better in a ceremonial entry. Other materials she suggested could be put on the website or in a brochure. Commissioner Chin lauded recognition for citizens who came forward, and recommended that the plaques be inclusive and inspirational. Commissioner Chin also suggested that the detailed history would better be posted on the website or in a brochure. Commissioner Chin felt the plaques should recite comings and goings but instead focus on the inspirational. Commissioner Bautista suggested that the proposed history be featured in an article or other wider outreach that would draw public attention and bring in a wider point of view than just that of the Commissioners. Vice President Steiman suggested a listing of major milestones in the Library's history recognizing those who contributed could be created elsewhere. President Higueras called attention to the wide diversity of views concerning the best way to record the Library'shistory. He suggested that posting a expanded version on the Library's website could be good, and suggested that perhaps the recognition of heroes might be separated from a recitation of Library history. Commissioner Coulter reminded his colleagues that a primary point of this proposal was to call overdue attention to the many heroes who throughout the Library's history came forward in good times and bad to build the institution it is today. Commissioner Coulter pointed to the difficulties inherent in selecting a limited number of quotations, and in finding how to include all of the issues and the wide diversity of points of view on events in Library history that have been brought forward within the limitations imposed by the space available. Commissioner Coulter noted that creation of the plaques was within the Commission’s prerogative and that they would be the Commission’s official statement. Commissioner Coulter noted how complicated it had been to fully recognize and be inclusive of the heroes who stepped forward to sustain the Library. He noted that any quotes emphasized should be specifically related to the San Francisco Public Library, should appear handsome, and leave room for future history to be added. In response to a question by Commissioner Strobin, it was noted that the history would be up to the present. Commissioner Coulter again requested that anyone with specific recommendations please bring them to him. Commissioner Chin expressed distaste for plaques in principle preferring other means to recount the history. President Higueras thanked Commissioner Coulter for his exhaustive efforts in drafting the proposed history and again emphasized that it was important that the draft be made available on the website with clear direction as to how anyone could bring comments to Commissioner Coulter. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA ITEM #5 PUBLIC COMMENT An anonymous member of the public person expressed appreciation for the clarification of the situation regarding the North Beach Branch. This person noted that often in the past with the change of Mayoral administrations at least some Library Commissioners were continued in office in order to preserve continuity. Additionally, this individual commented on the subjective nature of attempts at recording history. Mr. Peter Warfield suggested that a bibliography of materials related to the Library's history would be useful and interesting. Mr. Tom Carey suggested that Mr. James Chaffee write a history of the Library, suggesting that it was important to consider who writes history, and that an effort be made to avoid the slippery slope of naming individuals and ethnic groups instead focusing on the wider community. Ms. Andrea Grimes suggested that an opportunity was being missed and instead of naming individuals she proposed use of the quotation that had been inscribed over the front door of the Old Main Library honoring everyone. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA ITEM #6 ADJOURNMENT MOTION: Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Strobin that the meeting be adjourned. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #6 ADJOURNMENT None offered ACTION: AYE 6-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, Strobin, and Steiman) The meeting was adjourned at 6:03pm. Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 11/17/03 Please note: These are draft 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 July 17, 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. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Explanatory documents: Copies of listed explanatory documents are available as follows: (1) from the Commission Secretary/Custodian of Records, Main Library, 6th Floor, (2) in the rear of the Koret Auditorium immediately before and during the meeting, and (3)to the extent possible, on the Library's Web site. Additional materials not listed as explanatory documents, if any, that are distributed to the Library Commissioners prior to or during the meeting in connection with any agenda item will be available to the public for inspection and copying in accordance with Government Code Section 54954.1 and Sunshine Ordinance §§ 67.9, 67.28(b) & 67.28(d).