SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION
Minutes of the special joint meeting of Thursday, November 20, 2003.
(As approved January 20, 2004)
The San Francisco Recreation & Park and Public Library Commissions held a special joint meeting on Thursday, November 20, 2003 in Room 416, City Hall.
Recreation & Park Commission President John Murry and Library Commission Vice President Carol Steiman called the meeting to order at 12:36 pm.
The following members were present: Recreation & Park Commissioners John Murry, Gordon Chin, Jim Lazarus, and Larry Martin; and Library Commissioners Helen Marte Bautista, Lonnie K. Chin, Steven Coulter, and Carol Steiman. President Higueras’ arrival was expected. Library Commissioners Fran Streets and Deborah Strobin were excused attendance.
Library Commission President Charles Higueras joined the meeting at 12:37pm
Joint Recreation and Park and Public Library Issues
AGENDA ITEM #1 Joint Recreation and Park and Public Library Issues
City Librarian Susan Hildreth began by thanking the Recreation & Park Commissioners, Recreation & Park Department General Manager Elizabeth Goldstein, and Government Affairs Liaison Margaret McArthur for their cooperation with the Library on issues of mutual interest and concern. Ms. Hildreth then began the discussion of joint issues regarding branch libraries located within or adjacent to Recreation and Park Department properties, including: Bernal Heights Branch-Bernal Heights Playground; Marina Branch-Moscone Recreation Center/Playground; Ortega Branch-West Sunset Playground; Parkside Branch-McCoppin Square; and Western Addition Branch-Hamilton Recreation Center/Playground. The City Librarian noted that issues related to the North Beach would be discussed at a future meeting. Recreation & Park Department General Manager Elizabeth Goldstein called the Commissioners attention to language in the City's General Plan that in the interest of protecting open space proposed eventual removal of libraries located on park properties. The General Manger suggested that the Commissioners might want to recommend reconsideration of this language as not always appropriate. Ms Goldstein noted that the Recreation & Park Department and the Public Library shared a mission and performed complementary services that well served the neighborhoods where facilities were co-located.
Marilyn Thompson, Branch Library Improvement Program Manager, then presented a detailed overview (copy attached) of the background on, current status of, and plans for future improvements at the above noted branch libraries. President Murry acknowledged that Supervisor Fiona Ma had joined the meeting and invited her to offer any comments and suggestions she might wish to make.
At the conclusion of Ms. Thompson's presentation, the City Librarian pointed out that the most pressing concern was the General Plan’s open space restrictions that could impact the cooperative efforts of both departments to provide the highest and best use of these city properties to serve the community.
Commissioner Lazarus noted that he felt that the current General Plan language that all non-recreational use was non-conforming ignored the fact that the public was best served by consolidation of compatible public services in shared locations and that libraries were certainly a most compatible use, unlike sewage treatment or police/fire services. General Manager Goldstein agreed with Commissioner Lazarus that the General Plan requirements need not be an impediment and commented that steps could be taken to clear up any planning inconsistencies as needed under a revised plan. Commissioner Martin strongly supported any needed changes as beneficial to the City's children who used both departments’ services. Commissioner Lazarus then raised the issue of future cooperation between the Recreation & Park Department and the Public Library as the Recreation & Park Commission began to consider citywide recreational needs. He noted the great difficulty in finding appropriate locations and suggested that some libraries might have sufficient addition space, such as the Richmond Branch, were recreational programs could be operated. Library Commissioner Lonnie Chin noted that as Principal of Spring Valley Elementary School, she was very aware of the need for cooperative efforts by all City agencies to provide safe places to meet the needs of children and youth in our very dense city. Library Commission Vice President Steiman agreed that cooperation was important and noted that both the Library and the Recreation & Park Department shared a mutually supportive educational development component in the services they provided. In response to a question by President Murry the City Librarian explained that multilevel facilities were difficult because of the additional staffing that they required, citing the recent experience with the new Ocean View Branch Library. Ms. Hildreth then outlined the Library's plans to construct five new City-owned facilities and how they related to its service model of many small neighborhood serving branches. Commissioner Lazarus recommended that both departments be more aggressive in making recreational opportunities available and consider joint funding for projects to maximize the public benefit. Commissioner Lazarus requested that both departments’ staff work together to identify potential joint use sites and bring back a report, including means of funding services, to the Commissions. Recreation & Park Commissioner Gordon Chin noted that funds could be available through the Mayor’s Office of Community Development. Supervisor Fiona Ma thanked the Commissioners for their dedication to serving youth and called attention to her efforts to work with both departments for an expansion of the Parkside Branch Library as well as for the creation of an additional swimming pool in her district.
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #1 Joint Recreation and Park and Public Library Issues
Ms. Laurie Guidas, a Parkside resident, noted that the current Branch Library was too small and was very heavily used by students from nearby schools. She urged that Commissioners take action to make an expansion of the branch possible. Ms. Nancy Wuerful, Parkside neighborhood activist, noted that her long overlooked and neglected neighborhood had rallied together to save its school, the Dianne Feinstein (Parkside) Elementary School and would continue to work for a needed expansion of its branch library. An anonymous member of the public lauded the Commissions’ taking time for this important discussion of many issues and hoped to learn more. This individual expressed regret that the North Beach Branch Library was not discussed, noted that the new Mission Bay Branch was located adjacent to a recreational esplanade, and expressed concern that the plans for a rebuilt Ortega Branch might bring into conflict the needs of youth and senior users. Ms. Jean Chaitin, a Marina resident, applauded the Commissions’ cooperative efforts and noted that, if increased space for seniors became available at the Moscone Recreation Center, there could be more room in the branch library for other activities. Mr. Peter Warfield found the agenda item description not sufficiently informative and suggested that parks and libraries did not always have compatible uses. Mr. Warfield opined that if space could be found for the North Beach Branch Library in an existing building then the library site could be returned to Recreation & Park use. Ms. Sue Cauthen commented that people wanted more books in their libraries and that opportunities for expansion were important. Ms. Cauthen suggested a broader look at all branch libraries to consider possible expansion.
Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #1
Library Commission President Charles Higueras, AIA, noted that this was the first such meeting and that he looked forward to both departments’ staff working closely together. President Higueras noted the importance of cooperation between City departments in this era of limited resources. President Higueras suggested that realistic planning was vital, pointing out that the Branch Library Improvement Bond Program approved in 2000 had been reduced by $20 million by the Capital Improvement Advisory Committee below what was needed before it was presented to the voters. Recreation & Park Commission President John Murry recommended that staff prepare three possible actions for Commission consideration: a request for modification of the General Plan requirement calling for removal of libraries, consideration of plans, with full site presentations, for potential locations for expansion of services; and a joint staff recommendation in 4 to 6 months reviewing recreational opportunities such as tot lots on existing library open space.
AGENDA ITEM #2 ADJOURNMENT
There being no additional business before the joint meeting, a call for adjournment was made. No public comment was offered and the joint special meeting of the Library and Recreation & Park Commissions adjourned at 1:38pm
Michael Housh, Secretary Public Library Commission 1/21/04
Please note: Copies of Commission Minutes and handouts are available in the Office of the Library Commission Secretary, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Minutes of the special Joint Recreation & Park and Public Library Commissions’ Meeting of November 20, 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
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).