SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION
Minutes of the regular meeting of Wednesday, January 2, 2002 (as approved Feb. 5, 2002).
The San Francisco Public Library Commission held its regular meeting on Wednesday, January 2, 2002 n the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.
The meeting was called to order at 4:08 PM by President Higueras.
The following members were noted present: Commissioners Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, and Swig. Commissioners Chin, Streets, and Steiman were excused attendance.
1. APPROVAL OF THE DECEMBER 4, 2001 MINUTES
2. CITY LIBRARIAN"S REPORT
3. LIBRARY 2002/2003 BUDGET
4. LIBRARY BYLAWS REVISION
5. ELECTION OF COMMISSION OFFICERS
6. AFFINITY CENTERS UPDATE REPORT
7. FRIENDS & FOUNDATION REPORT
8. NEW BUSINESS
9. PUBLIC COMMENT
11. Appendix A
AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE DECEMBER 4, 2001 MINUTES
An anonymous member of the public noted that the Minutes were incomplete as the public comment summary statements had not been posted on the Library’s website. This person also noted that an anecdote they had related had not been explained in the Minutes. This anonymous member of the public further noted that a comment by President Higueras about the cost of library improvements had not been accurately reported. Mr. Ed Regan requested that a comment concerning library book collections be clarified to read as referring to non-fiction collections. Mr. Peter Warfield expressed a desire for greater specificity in reported comments, found the budget proposed a sad document, and suggested that the reported POE (Post Occupancy Evaluation) Report items did not track back to the recommendations in the POE Report.
Commissioner Coulter suggested that the Commission consider moving approval of previous meeting Minutes to the end of its regular agendas.
Motion: by Commissioner Coulter, seconded by Commissioner Bautista for approval of the Minutes of December 4, 2001 with corrections to Mr. Regan’s remarks as noted. Action: AYE 4-0 (Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, and Swig)
AGENDA ITEM #2 CITY LIBRARIAN'S REPORT
City Librarian Susan Hildreth reported that the San Francisco History Center had received the gift of an Underwood typewriter used by famed San Francisco author Dashiel Hammett from Mr. Hammett’s daughter and thus it joined columnist Herb Caen’s typewriter in the Library’s collections. The City Librarian reported that the reopening of the Visitacion Valley Branch Library would occur on January 8th. Ms. Hildreth noted that the ILS (Integrated Library System) RFP (request for proposals) was being released on January 2,2002 and would close on March 15th. She noted that the document had been developed and then extensively reviewed by staff committees. The City Librarian informed the Commission the Tool Lending Center would be holding a 1st Anniversary celebration on January 4th from 5 to 8PM. Ms. Hildreth next noted that there would be a community meeting held on January 22nd to discuss the mural at the Bernal Heights Branch Library.
Ms. Hildreth then reported that the Library would participate in a meeting with the Glen Park Neighborhood Association to begin the discussion of what kinds of services the neighborhood might want at the new branch library. The City Librarian then informed the Commissioners of the details of a library public awareness campaign sponsored by the State Library that would include billboard advertisements, newspaper ads, and radio and TV public service announcements (PSA) calling attention to libraries with the theme "the library, check it out".
An anonymous member of the public commented favorably on the Hammett typewriter gift and the message of the PSAs. This person then noted that they had not received a copy of the RFP despite having requested that they received all such documents. Lastly, the anonymous member of the public called the Commissioners attention to a proposal by Supervisor Yee to create a library advisory committee. Mr. Ed Regan inquired regarding the location of the Glen Park meeting. Mr. Peter Warfield commented that the Hammett typewriter was a worthy acquisition. Mr. Warfield additionally observed that the ILS RFP was disappointing and that there had not been any public input or discussion of what was wrong with the old catalog. Ms. Amanda Thomas, Manager of the Tool Lending Center, formally invited the Commissioners to attend its January 4th Anniversary celebrations.
In response to questions by Commissioner Coulter, Ms. Thomas outlined the successes achieved by the Tool Lending Center during its 1st year with more than 15,000 tools loaned to users from every part of San Francisco, and without any reported accidents. She also noted that the tools were being returned. Commissioner Coulter lauded the acquisition of the Hammett typewriter and commended the public awareness campaign. Commissioner Coulter noted the increased cooperative efforts on exhibits by the library staff with the support of the Friends and Foundation. Commissioner Bautista noted that the Commissioners themselves had just received copies of the ILS RFP at the meeting. Commissioner Swig applauded the PSA campaign.
AGENDA ITEM #3 LIBRARY 2002/2003 BUDGET
Mr. George Nichols, Library Finance Director gave the Commissioners an extensive and detailed overview of the proposed 2002/03 Library Budget (copy attached) and outlined possible reductions that could be considered should the Mayor’s Budget Office find that revenue projections warranted additional reductions in planned city spending. Mr. Nichols proposed to report back to the Commission on the Mayor’s Budget Office’s revised instruction’s for the Library’s 2002/03 Budget at the February Commission meeting.
An anonymous member of the public commented that while this was a complex subject this budget did not represent returning to basics. The anonymous member of the public further commented that they were unclear concerning the strategy being proposed and that while great expenditure was proposed for one-time projects, the book budget was flat or declining. Mr. Ed Regan recommended that money from the Fuhrman Fund be used to fill in gaps in the Library’s collections of books on politics and economics. Ms. Corry Collandra of SLUG (San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners) lauded the achievements of the Tool Lending Center and urged the Commissioners to continue its funding. Mr. Peter Warfield commented that even though there was a $2 million increase in the budget there was no increase for books and urged the Commissioner not to approve the budget.
In answer to questions by Commissioner Coulter, the City Librarian explained limitations on use of bond funds and how the proposed staffing for the new Mission Bay Branch library would be integrated into the budget over the next two years as needed. Ms. Hildreth then discussed in detail how the various aspects of the new branch telephone system upgrades could be managed within likely budget limitations. The City Library next noted increased Fuhrman Fund purchases of books on politics and economics in the proposed budget. Commissioner Bautista asked if a list of books purchased by the Fuhrman Fund could be prepared? In answer to questions by Commissioner Swig, Kathy Lawhun, Chief of the Main Library outlined the need for microfilm readers and discussed the impact of the changes resulting from the end of the IKON contract.
In response to President Higueras’s comments on the importance of maintaining a budget reserve for a rainy day, Mr. Nichols discussed what might constitute a prudent budget reserve and noted that additional reductions proposed by the Mayor’s Budget office could fully utilize the existing reserve. In answer to additional questions by President Higueras, the City Librarian discussed how to manage on-going maintenance needs in branch libraries that would be either replaced or significantly upgraded by the Branch Library Bond Program. President Higueras expressed concerns with the possibility of reductions in the book budget noting that any additional funding reductions would offer painful choices. President Higueras expressed support for continued funding for the Tool Lending Center.
President Higueras observed that if there were to be more reductions next year the choices would become even more difficult.
In response to questions by Commissioners Bautista and Swig, Mr. Nichols discussed the proposed training and travel allowance budgets. Commissioner Bautista expressed the hope that the economy would improve and preclude any need for additional reductions.
Commissioner Swig requested that a prioritized list of suggested cuts be prepared for the Commission before they next considered budget cuts. President Higueras suggested that options for use of the reserve be prepared with a rationale for proposed reductions and a review of planned one-time expenditures.
Motion: by Commissioner Bautista, 2nd by Commissioner Swig for approval of the proposed 2002/03 Library budget.
Action: AYE 4-0 (Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, and Swig)
President Higueras called for a brief recess at 5:55PM
The Commission returned to session at 6:02PM
AGENDA ITEM # 4 LIBRARY BYLAWS REVISION
The Commission Secretary clarified that the Bylaws were last amended in April 1998. Then, Deputy City Attorney Catharine Barnes outlined in detail the proposed Commission Bylaws.
An anonymous member of the public observed these changes might not accomplish what the Commissioners hoped and that the agenda item notice did not include dropping the annual report. This person commented an annual report increased accountability and that the proposed changes regarding the Minutes had the virtue of reminding them of the requirements of the law. Mr. Warfield commented that the Bylaw changes were not properly noticed; that the amendment provisions were too loose; that there was no enforcement provisions; and found unfortunate that the Bylaws referenced an outside document.
Commissioner Coulter suggested retaining the annual report language, finding it a useful tool to publicize the good work accomplished in a year by the Library. He further suggested that such a report could be prepared in partnership with the Friends and Foundation to make the community more aware of what the Library had accomplished.
Motion: by Commissioner Coulter, seconded by Commissioner Bautista that the proposed Bylaw revisions be adopted except for the provision eliminating the annual report.
Action: AYE 4-0 (Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, and Swig)
AGENDA ITEM #5 ELECTION OF COMMISSION OFFICERS
The Commission Secretary informed the Commissioners that President Higueras and Vice President Steiman had been nominated to continue as President and Vice President for 2002 and asked if there were any further nominations. No additional nominations were proposed.
Mr. Peter Warfield inquired if campaign finance disclosures were to be made. Mr. Ed Regan commented that President Higueras and Vice President Steiman had done a good job in office.
Motion: by Commissioner Coulter, seconded by Commissioner Bautista that Commissioner Higueras be elected President and Commissioner Steiman be elected Vice President of the San Francisco Public Library Commission for 2002.
Action: AYE 4-0 (Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, and Swig)
AGENDA ITEM #6 AFFINITY CENTERS UPDATE REPORT
City Librarian Susan Hildreth introduced Doris Tseng of the Chinese Center and Asa Peavy of the Book Arts and Special Collections Center to present a quarterly update on recent Library affinity centers activities. Ms. Tseng discussed in some detail the use of both the English and Chinese language collections in the Center and called attention to the heavy patron use of its two Chinese language Internet computers. Ms. Tseng then described changes made in the Center’s arrangement to facilitate greater access to and use of its collections. The Chinese Center’s Manager then outlined various highly successful programs and author presentations that the Center had sponsored this year. Ms. Tseng concluded her report with a brief outline of several proposed efforts to strengthen the center’s collections, increase cooperation with the Shanghai and Tapei Sister City Committees, and develop a collection of Chinese American photography. Ms. Tseng reported a recent gift of 500 English language books on Chinese culture from the Chinese government.
Mr. Peavy provided the Commissioners with a packet of materials demonstrating the richness of the Library’s Book Arts and Special collections and spoke extensively concerning recent exhibits sponsored by the Center, notably an exhibit by the Pacific Center for the Book Arts and the widely acclaimed Zapf Fest series of programs on calligraphy and fine printing typeface design. Mr. Peavy called attention to a special holiday card designed for the Library by Herman Zapf, and discussed the works of Paul Elder, a Master of Arts and Crafts fine printing in the early 20th century. Mr. Peavy noted that an exhibit of his work would be held in 2003. The Book Arts and Special Collections Manager then informed the Commissioners concerning an upcoming exhibit of handmade books in February.
Library Community Affairs Chief, Marcia Schneider then introduced Catherine King and Everett Erlensen, the new curators in her department who would be working to facilitate all of the proposed exhibitions.
Mr. Peter Warfield noted that he had attended many of these events and inquired if the curators were to be assigned to work exclusively for the affinity centers or if they would work on exhibits of collections throughout the library.
In response to a question by Commissioner Coulter, the City Librarian reported that the Friends and Foundation had paid for the holiday card. Commissioner Coulter expressed satisfaction with the excellent work being done in the centers and inquired about expanding outreach efforts, including expanded email program notes and event notice lists, to increase community involvement with the centers. Commissioner Coulter also suggested that the Friends and Foundation might consider reconstituting the fundraising support groups for the centers to increase their ability to offer programs to the community. President Higueras noted that these reports called attention to the riches in the Library’s collections. Commissioner Bautista commented that exchanges of staff with sister city libraries might be considered.
AGENDA ITEM #7 FRIENDS & FOUNDATION REPORT
Ms. Cynthia Adam, Interim Executive Director of the Friends and Foundation of the San Francisco Public Library brought the Commissioners up to date on recent activities including: the conclusion of this year’s arts and lecture series, plans for the April 8th Library Laureates Dinner, the January 21st Grotto Night events, and the Friends and Foundation year end appeal and membership drive. Ms. Adam also informed the Commissioners concerning the on-going search for a permanent Executive Director and to relocate the Friends and Foundation offices.
AGENDA ITEM #8 NEW BUSINESS
President Higueras called for discussion of an annual report. Commissioner Swig requested an update on the Strategic Plan. Commissioner Bautista requested a discussion of how to resolve a continuing graffiti problem at the Ortega Branch Library.
An anonymous member of the public commented that an annual report was a good thing for many reasons. This person also commented that moving approval of the meeting minutes to the end of a meeting was an issue of accountability.
Agenda item #9 PUBLIC COMMENT
An anonymous member of the public commented on the topics raised and Commissioner Coulter’s response to discussion that had occurred during public comment at a previous meeting. This person suggested that Commissioner Coulter had misunderstood the point of the discussion. Mr. Ed Regan suggested that Library public service hours be expanded from 6AM until Midnight 7 days per week, that the Library purchase more comfortable furniture including tables to read standing up. Mr. Peter Warfield commented that the furniture was too heavy and tabletops problematic. Mr. Warfield also raised two issues, inquiring concerning the status of the proposed system-wide Support Services Center, and regarding what plans were being considered to create space for books in the branch libraries.
AGENDA ITEM #10 ADJOURNMENT
Motion: by Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Coulter that the meeting be adjourned.
Action: AYE 4-0 (Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, and Swig)
The meeting was adjourned at 7:19PM.
Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 1/16/02
The number of members of the public who spoke anonymously at this meeting: 1
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
Please note: Copies of Commission Minutes and handouts are available in the Office of the Commission Secretary, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Copies of Public Comment Summary Statements as authorized by San Francisco Administrative Code Section 67.16 can be found in Appendix A. These summary statements are provided by the speaker and their contents are neither generated by, nor subject to approval or verification of accuracy by, the San Francisco Public Library Commission.