SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION
Minutes of the special meeting of Thursday, November 13, 2003.
(As approved January 20, 2004)
The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a special meeting on Thursday, November 13, 2003, in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.
Vice President Steiman called the meeting to order at 4:06pm.
The following members were noted present: Commissioners Bautista, Chin, Coulter, and Steiman. Commissioners Higueras, Strobin, and Streets were excused.
Vice President Steiman announced that as Public Comment at the previous Commission meeting had abruptly ended due to loss of the meeting’s quorum, she was taking general Public Comment as the first item during this meeting.
5) Public Comment
1) Ingleside Prop. 14 Application
2) Portola Prop. 14 Application
3) Visitacion Valley Prop. 14 Application
4) Ortega Prop. 14 Application
AGENDA ITEM #5 PUBLIC COMMENT
An anonymous member of the public noted that there were no explanatory documents listed for the items to be reviewed at this meeting and that the materials provided were insufficiently extensive to address the issues involved with four branch libraries. This person also questioned the potential impact on these plans of a failure to receive state grants. Mr. Peter Warfield expressed disappointment that explanatory materials were not made available in advance and queried what attachments available were to be discussed. Mr. Warfield suggested that as the needs assessments were dated several months ago they should have been made available sooner. Ms. Ellen Egbert, Bernal Heights Branch, lauded the Commissioners for their service.
AGENDA ITEM #1 INGLESIDE PROP. 14 APPLICATION FORM & SELECTED ATTACHMENTS
Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood presented a detailed overview of the Prop. 14 (State Library Bond Act) Application for the new Ingleside Branch noting that copies of the Prop. 14 Applications and selected attachments were available at the rear of the auditorium and would also be available in the Library Commission Office. Mr. Underwood then discussed the 78-year history of the Ingleside Branch in leased facilities, outlined details of the new proposed branch based on an extensive needs assessment and called attention to the cooperative agreement with the Aptos School. Branch Library Improvement Program (BLIP) Manager Marilyn Thompson then presented an architectural overview of the proposed new branch.
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #1 INGLESIDE PROP. 14 APPLICATION FORM & SELECTED ATTACHMENTS
An anonymous member of the public inquired as to the strong points of the proposed Prop. 14 Application considering the highly competitive environment for such grants and the relatively small service population for this branch when viewed on a statewide scale of increasing populations. Mr. Peter Warfield inquired concerning specific statistics concerning changes in the branch collection’s size, available seating, and usable floor space. Mr. Warfield suggested that the City Librarian discuss the strength of these applications in view of the reported evaluations of previous applications.
Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #1 INGLESIDE PROP. 14 APPLICATION FORM & SELECTED ATTACHMENTS
In response to questions by Commissioner Coulter, the Deputy City Librarian outlined the comparison between the existing and proposed branch and discussed how the needs assessment addressed questions concerning book capacity. The City Librarian informed Vice President Steiman concerning State norms for numbers of books and square feet of service space per population in a branch library but suggested that such broad rules of thumb were not significant in comparison to clearly identified local needs that drive how branches are structured. Ms. Hildreth noted that as this facility would be seen as a new branch it would have a critically important competitive advantage in a very competitive effort to obtain grants from a limited amount still available. In response to another question by Vice President Steiman, Ms. Hildreth noted that the full site could be eventually used for expansion, another competitive advantage for this project. In response to questions by Commissioner Bautista, Ms. Hildreth discussed how the proposed courtyard was to be used. In response to a question by Commissioner Chin it was noted that cooperative agreements with City College would not help with the application and that dense housing was proposed for the other site adjoining the library's site. Responding to a question by Commissioner Coulter regarding why five applications were being submitted; the City Librarian noted that those applications submitted and ranked as eligible for 3rd cycle Prop. 14 grants but not funded would be well positioned to obtain funding should another state library bond be enacted.
AGENDA ITEM #2 PORTOLA PROP. 14 APPLICATION FORM & SELECTED ATTACHMENTS
The Deputy City Librarian outlined the details of the proposed Prop. 14 (State Library Bond Act) Application for the new Portola Branch. The Deputy City Librarian presented an overview of the 75-year history of the Portola Branch in leased facilities, outlined details of the new proposed 6,300 sq. ft. new branch on a 8,800 sq. ft. site to serve the children, youth, and families of this very diverse community. Mr. Underwood noted the steps taken to respond to community requests for: the library to be a center for the community; to support the needs of students and their families; to provide flexible program space; to increase available computer resources; and to increase non-English languages collections. The Deputy City Librarian also discussed the cooperative agreement with the E.R. Taylor Elementary School and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School. BLIP Manager Marilyn Thompson then presented an architectural overview of the proposed new branch.
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #2 PORTOLA PROP. 14 APPLICATION FORM & SELECTED ATTACHMENTS
Ms. Chris Ortiz, Portola representative on the Council for Neighborhood Libraries, lauded the proposed new branch noting its long an d difficult history of struggle to grow and serve the neighborhood families. An anonymous member of the public commented that this was an isolated neighborhood and suggested that the graphic presented could be improved by showing the location of the proposed new facility. This person expressed concern that proximity to the school would result in the branch being inundated by students and suggested that the Library had paid too much to the school district for the property. Mr. Peter Warfield expressed disappointment that these explanatory materials were not made available in advance and expressed his shared concern that the proposed joint use agreements with the schools would negatively impact other branch users. Mr. Warfield also requested a comparison of the old and new branches regarding floor space, collection size, and seating, and asked if what was being provided was what had been requested by the community.
Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #2 PORTOLA PROP. 14 APPLICATION FORM & SELECTED ATTACHMENTS
Commissioner Coulter noted that proximity to schools was a major advantage for this application, noting that both elementary and middle schools private and public were nearby. Ms. Hildreth then informed Commissioner Bautista that the title to the property would close before January 16th. Commissioner Chin wondered that anyone would consider it problematic that there were so many schools nearby or that their students might use the proposed new branch. Commissioner Chin noted that all of the nearby schools had libraries and that the branch would serve everyone not be overrun by students. Vice President Steiman pointed out that virtually all of these issues had been extensively discussed previously as well as in the community.
AGENDA ITEM #3 VISITACION VALLEY PROP. 14 APPLICATION FORM & SELECTED ATTACHMENTS
The Deputy City Librarian outlined in some detail the proposed Prop. 14 Application for a new Visitacion Valley Branch Library. Mr. Underwood recounted the 70 year history of the branch in very small leased locations and highlighted the great need and demand for increased library services in this one of the city's most diverse and under-served neighborhoods. The Deputy City Librarian detailed the emphasis placed by the community and the library planners in developing a new branch that provides educational opportunities for students and families. Mr. Underwood described an emphasis on English language learning, flexible program space, and greatly expanded access to computers and technology requested by the community. Mr. Underwood discussed proposed expansion in the branch's collections to meet the identified needs of the neighborhood. Ms. Hildreth pointed out that the Super Fair Market site was ample to provide for future expansion. Ms. Thompson then presented an architectural overview of the proposed new branch.
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #3 VISITACION VALLEY PROP. 14 APPLICATION FORM & SELECTED ATTACHMENTS
An anonymous member of the public commented that this was a very interesting but much neglected neighborhood and discussed this person’s impressions of a community meeting held to discuss the new branch. This person noted that this new branch offered an opportunity to rejuvenate and reach out to this overlooked very diverse and fast -changing community. Mr. Peter Warfield decried that lack of availability of explanatory materials noting that his brief look at the full applications and the small print used in many of the documents did not allow him time to study what was proposed. Mr. Warfield asked if what was proposed was what the community had requested, and noted that the collection was being increased 50 percent.
Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #3 VISITACION VALLEY PROP. 14 APPLICATION FORM & SELECTED ATTACHMENTS
In response to a question by Commissioner Chin, the size and layout of the children's and teen areas and access to the proposed program space was discussed. In response to a question by Commissioner Coulter, the community discussion that led to inclusion of the proposed community history wall was described. There followed a general discussion of issues involving the trade-off necessary given the limited amounts of public service space available between requests for flexible program space and more room for collections. The City Librarian emphasized that these trade-offs were a major topic of discussion, and that a consensus on an appropriate balance between the competing needs for this neighborhood was achieved in the community meetings.
AGENDA ITEM #4 ORTEGA PROP. 14 APPLICATION FORM & SELECTED ATTACHMENTS
Mr. Paul Underwood, Deputy City Librarian, presented an overview of the Prop. 14 (State Library Bond Act) Application for the new Ortega Branch Library replacing the existing city-owned 1956 Appleton-designed facility with a new larger building placed to be more visible and accessible from the street. The Deputy City Librarian noted that the existing branch was constructed as part of a neighborhood civic center located in the heart of the neighborhood and shared some spaces with a recreation center and was sited between schools. Mr. Underwood highlighted the expanded new branch's emphasis on meeting the needs of the largely Asian and increasing numbers of Russian and other non-English speaking residents as well as many students in the neighborhood. He called attention to cooperative agreements with the nearby middle and elementary schools and detailed an extensive process used to gather community input. BLIP Manager Marilyn Thompson then presented an architectural overview of the new Ortega Branch.
City Librarian Susan Hildreth explained that the Library had shared in the 1949 purchase of the property originally and owned a “footprint” for its branch, but that the existing building was not within that footprint and that the details of its relocation on the site would need to be worked out.
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #4 ORTEGA PROP. 14 APPLICATION FORM & SELECTED ATTACHMENTS
An anonymous member of the public found it interesting how this project had played out, pointing out that this area had originally been sand dunes, and expressed a desire to have additional time to study the proposal. This person called attention to the point that many users of this branch were older and that their needs should be considered as well. Mr. Peter Warfield expressed frustration that more information was not made available and suggested that the needs assessment should be more extensively reviewed. Mr. Warfield asked if this was what the community had requested and inquired concerning changes in the branch's collections size, available seating, and floor space.
Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #4 ORTEGA PROP. 14 APPLICATION FORM & SELECTED ATTACHMENTS
Commissioner Bautista found the proposed relocation a big improvement and much more accessible. She also approved of the ample spaces proposed for children and teens. She noted that this branch was very heavily used by students and was an important center for the community. Commissioner Bautista also liked the secure garden area as well as noting that the community room could be used by book clubs and for other literary related purposes. Ms. Hildreth called the Commissioners’ attention to the important fact that should the Prop 14 Application be unsuccessful, the Library would have to revert to its original plan to renovate the existing building rather that build a new facility. Commissioner Chin praised the dedication and very hard work on this and the other Prop. 14 Applications by Library staff. Commissioner Chin additionally lauded the careful attention given to addressing unique neighborhood issues such as poor test scores in each of these proposals. The City Librarian noted that in this as with each of these proposals the highest and best uses of the new branches resulted from input by the neighborhood where the branches were located, such as a serving as the community's center and providing increased internet access.
AGENDA ITEM #6 ADJOURNMENT
MOTION: Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Chin that the meeting be adjourned.
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #6 ADJOURNMENT
ACTION: AYE 4-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, and Steiman)
The meeting was adjourned at 5:58pm.
Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 1/21/04
Minutes of the regular Commission Meeting of November 13, 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.
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).