Library Commission Minutes - April 18, 2002
SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION
Minutes of the meeting of Thursday, April 18, 2002 (As approved May 16, 2001).
The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, April 18, 2002 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.
The meeting was called to order at 4:13 PM by President Higueras
The following members were noted present: Commissioners Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, and Steiman. Commissioners Streets and Swig were reported excused attendance.
1. APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF MARCH 21, 2002
2. INGLESIDE LIBRARY SITE ACQUISITION
3. BOND PROGRAM MANAGERS REPORT
4. BRANCH LIBRARY SERVICES OPTIONS LIBRARY
5. EXCESSIOR LIBRARY PROP 14 APPLICATION
6. PUBLIC COMMENT
8. Appendix A
AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF MARCH 21, 2002
An anonymous member of the public commented on the required inclusion of public comment summary statements in the posted Minutes. The anonymous member of the public commented concerning a lack of detail in the Minutes citing as examples a reference to a Richmond ReView article and the discussion of the Gift Policy. Mr. Ed Regan commented that his remarks had been accurately reported. Mr. Peter Warfield observed that the minutes were deficient and lacked copies of the Gift Recognition Policy, and did not fully report the discussion concerning the policy, particularly related to the exclusive arrangement with the Friends and Foundation and potential overhead costs. Mr. Warfield also noted no that mention was made of a commitment to report back to the Commission concerning the overhead costs issue.
MOTION: for approval of the March 21st Minutes by Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Coulter.
ACTION: AYE 4-0 (Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, and Steiman)
AGENDA ITEM #2 INGLESIDE LIBRARY SITE ACQUISITION
(Explanatory document: site selection memorandum) City Librarian Susan Hildreth outlined in detail the merits of proposed sites for the new Ingleside Branch Library including the current branch location in the former Bank of America building at 1649 Ocean Avenue. She also discussed the merits of the site recommended by library staff, currently the location of Sunset Auto at 1250 Ocean Avenue addressing issues concerning its location and concern with possible toxics on the site. Additionally she reported on the evaluation process that library staff had used to consider potential sites at Ramallah Hall at 1945 Ocean Avenue, a small shopping center located at 2020 Ocean Avenue, and the Red Roof Restaurant site at 1801-15 Ocean Avenue.
The City Librarian reported that the result of the staff evaluation and input gathered at community meeting led to the recommendation that the Sunset Auto site be purchased as the new location of the Ingleside Branch Library at a projected cost of $4.8 million. She noted a factor in this decision were cost estimates that suggested that renovation of the current branch location in the former Bank of America building could cost $2 million over the amount budgeted for this project. Ms. Hildreth observed that in contrast the Sunset Auto’s 11,000-sq. ft. site was estimated to be $384,000 over the budget target for this project. Additionally, the City Librarian reported that these sites had been discussed extensively at an April 3rd Ingleside Community meeting.
Marilyn Thompson, Branch Bond Program Manager reviewed the costs for this project in detail at both the current location in the former Bank of America building and at the Sunset Auto, pointing out that these figures did not include F F & E (furniture, fixtures, and equipment). The Bond Program Manager reported that the costs to locate at the current site were estimated to be $6.7 million and that future expansion of the branch on this site was not possible unlike at the Sunset Auto site. The Department of Real Estate’s Charlie Dunn informed the Commissioners of late breaking information concerning the possible involvement of a private developer interested in the Sunset Auto site.
An anonymous member of the public expressed concern on two points; first, choosing the best site for the library, and second, that the Commission not be swayed by neighborhood priorities not the Library’s. The anonymous member of the public also expressed concern at the 11th hour appearance of a private developer, suggesting that the politics of such a situation posed dangers for a public entity, and noting that the current branch location had changed hands just prior the library’s leasing it. Mr. Ed Regan supported choosing the current branch location, proposing that a second floor be added. Mr. Reagan also expressed concern that the staff’s recommended site was too close to City College and would result in the branch library being overwhelmed by students. Mr. James Swarthout, neighborhood resident, noted his active involvement in moving the branch to the current location and called attention to the advantages of the current site over the Sunset Auto site. Mr. Swarthout suggested that competitive bidding could reduce the cost of renovation of the former Bank of America building significantly. Ms. Bette Landis spoke in favor of the Sunset Auto location citing its closeness to the more residential part of the neighborhood and the benefits of having a new building up to ADA (American with Disabilities Act) and seismic codes. Ms. Regina Wasser, a community activist, voiced support for the Sunset Auto site noting its room for expansion and that any toxics cleanup would be the responsibility of the current owner. Mr. Dan Weaver, Friends of the Ingleside, Library spoke in support of the selection of the Sunset Auto site, noting its greater size offered opportunity to expand in the future, its potential for architectural excellence in a new building, and suggested that this project was a model of cooperation between city departments and neighborhood residents. Mr. Al Lewis, community activist, spoke in favor of retaining the current branch library location, noting that it was in the center of the neighborhood and that with ongoing civic improvements would soon be a very valuable property for the Library. Mr. Lewis commented that the projected costs to renovate the former Bank of America building were overstated and that there was no guarantee that the Library would get the Sunset Auto site. Mr. Peter Warfield echoed comments by previous speakers asking for additional information concerning the costs for this project. Mr. Warfield expressed concern that both proposals exceeded the budget proposed for this branch and expressed interest in funds allocated for branch relocation.
Commissioner Chin joined the meeting at 4:55PM.
Commissioner Bautista discussed her impressions of what was needed for this branch as a result of her visits to the current location. Vice President Steiman commented on how crowded the current branch location seemed to be and noted that the Sunset Auto site only five blocks away offered a greater opportunity to offer the library services needed by the neighborhood. She commented that City College students had very different needs in using a library. Commissioner Chin responded to concerns expressed that City College students might overwhelm the branch by noting that the College had just opened its own academic library that was better suited to meeting their needs than a small branch public library. Commissioner Coulter noted concern that yet another branch project was coming to the Commission over the projected budget. President Higueras called attention to the beneficial city planning aspects of choosing the Sunset Auto site noting that building there would be another step in the ongoing improvement of the entire area. President Higueras pointed out that size does matter, calling attention to the challenges posed by many existing undersized branches and noting that having the flexibility for future expansion was good to have. Commissioner Bautista noted that building a new library would be a gift to the community and would be an important element in its improvement. Commissioner Bautista inquired about and was informed concerning the potential for a Prop. 14 (State Library Bond) application for the Ingleside Branch.
Motion: by Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Steiman authorizing the City Librarian, in consultation with the City Attorney's Office and the Director of Property, to negotiate with the owner of 1250 Ocean Avenue (Sunset Auto) for the purchase of this property as the site for a new Ingleside Branch Library.
Action: AYE 5-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, and Steiman)
AGENDA ITEM #3 BOND PROGRAM MANAGERS REPORT
(Bond Program budget and schedule documents)
Branch Bond Program Manager Marilyn Thompson discussed the likelihood of Commission action on Purchase and Sale Agreements for the Mission Bay Branch in July and Glen Park Branch Libraries in June. The Bond Program Manager then introduced Deputy City Attorney Donnell Choy, who gave an extensive information background presentation on the ins and outs of purchase and sale agreements. Mr. Choy first discussed the elements of a purchase and sale agreement. The Deputy City Attorney then discussed the exhibits normally part of a purchase and sale agreement as they related to these branch library projects. Mr. Choy noted in particular that the Redevelopment Agency was on a tight schedule to submit their financing package for the Mission Bay project by mid-July and suggested that this purchase and sale agreement could be brought to the Library Commission for discussion at its June 20th meeting with final approval after additional public comment at its July 2, 2002 meeting.
In her regular report, Ms. Thompson reviewed the structure of the budget reports, recapped budget development to date, and noted that there were no changes to the Bond Program Budget and called attention to schedule modifications moving up the Richmond, North Beach, and Excelsior projects on the program schedule. The Bond Program Manager next outlined the public review process for bond program projects. Ms. Thompson then discussed site acquisitions activities at the Glen Park, Mission Bay, Portola, Ingleside, and Visitacion Valley Branch Libraries. Ms. Thompson then gave an update report on the active projects at the Richmond, Excelsior, and Noe Valley branches. The Bond Program Manager then reported on the RFQ (request for qualifications) for the pool of library planners needed for the bond program projects, the proposed Art Enrichment Program, and the Design Excellence Program. Ms. Thompson next reported on recent and upcoming community meetings related to the Branch Bond Program, calling attention to library sponsored meetings concerning the Excelsior and Glen Park Branches, as well as meetings where library staff were invited to make presentations concerning Bond Program projects. The Bond Program Manager expressed her appreciation to Library Chief of Branches Donna Corbeil, and her Librarian IIIs, Gloria Hansen, Katie Lynds, and Joan Goldman as well as Branch Managers Terry Gwazdowski, Sharon Desurik, Tim Williams, Roberta Griefer, Jan Nunes, Dede Puma, Roz Chang, and Valentine Parras, for outstanding assistance in moving the Bond Program forward. Ms. Thompson informed the Commissioners that three sets of community meeting notes were available: 3/18 Mission Bay, 3/23 Excelsior, 4/3 Ingleside, and the 4/10 first meeting of the Branch Library Improvement Advisory Committee. She also noted that the first Bond Program newsletter had been mailed out. Ms. Thompson noted that there were no special reports this month.
An anonymous member of the public commented that any ownership contract is a mountain of documents and observed that the explanatory documents provided were not informative.
The anonymous member of the public remarked that the budget and schedule reports’ typeface was so small as to be illegible, that the information was not provided with enough time to review it, and shared the concerns that all of the branch projects so far presented were over budget. Mr. Ed Regan questioned why a branch library was being proposed for Mission Bay. Mr. Peter Warfield commented that the presentations were difficult to follow and the lack of information concerning community meetings held on April 3rd and 10th. Mr. Warfield also asked if any effort had been made to obtain funding for furniture from Prop. 14 (State Library Bond) funds.
In response to questions by President Higueras concerning how documents related to these pending purchase and sale agreements could be made available for the Commissioner’s review, Mr. Choy explained that the documents in question were still in the process of being negotiated as the final agreements had not yet been reached. President Higueras proposed that a detailed summary of the purchase and sale agreements be prepared for discussion at one meeting and action at a subsequent meeting to allow time to review and discuss the details of each agreement and gather comment before acting to approve them. In response to questions by Commissioner Chin, Mr. Choy outlined the process whereby the Library Commission would recommend approval of these agreements to the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Choy noted that there would be two required reading of the proposals by the Board of Supervisors. In response to other questions by Commissioner Chin, Ms. Thompson outlined how the proposed Art Enrichment Program had been put together under the aegis of the Art Commission. Commissioner Bautista suggested that as often as possible information presented be prepared on a single sheet.
Commissioner Coulter had left the meeting at 6:04PM.
President Higueras called a brief recess at 6:09PM
The Commission returned to session at 6:21PM
AGENDA ITEM #4 BRANCH LIBRARY SERVICES OPTIONS LIBRARY
Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood provided the Commissioners with an overview of the various options developed by a staff task force that the Library could use to provide public services during periods when branch libraries were undergoing renovation. Mr. Underwood reported that these situations were individual and would be addressed on a case by case basis with the options chosen according to geographic location of the branch, its proximity to other branches, its size, and related factors such as ease of access by public transit. The Deputy City Librarian noted that in some cases bookmobile services could be provided and hours of public service at nearby branches expanded to provide coverage. Mr. Underwood additionally observed that children’s programming would be expanded through programs offered by OCYS (Office of Children and Youth Services) and expanded use of the children’s bookmobile. The Deputy City Librarian also reported that insofar as was possible it was planned to store branch library collections in Brooks Hall. Mr. Underwood commented that special or unique collections such as language collections would be relocated to nearby branches so as to be available during renovation work. Mr. Underwood reported that the staff recommendation was that no temporary facilities be used because of the great expense involved in upgrading temporary facilities, the difficulty in finding suitable locations, and the fact that the Library would have to leave costly improvements behind after only brief use. Mr. Underwood noted that there were many other ways in which services could be maintained in a more cost-effective manner.
An anonymous member of the public noted that there were no explanatory documents provided with this report and expressed concern that there would be no temporary facilities provided. This person recalled the examples of the Chinatown and Mission branches as having temporary replacement locations. This anonymous member of the public observed that West Portal and Parkside Branches were located far apart and that more services at one did not effectively replace lost services. Mr. Ed Regan commented that bookmobiles were too small, having room for only fiction collections and at most six people. Mr. Regan instead recommended use of mobile home type facilities that could provide temporary services with much greater space. Mr. Peter Warfield expressed great disappointment and questioned the process whereby the case by case consideration of temporary replacement facilities would be made and by whom. Mr. Warfield objected to the proposed storage of branch library collections in Brooks Hall, citing reports of feral cats, rats, and dust suggesting that it was a terrible place to store books.
In response to expressions of concern by Vice President Steiman that this proposal might not offer enough services replacement options, Mr. Underwood outlined how the closures could be balanced so that public services in the library system would be maintained during Bond Program renovations. Ms. Hildreth noted that there would be no more than 3 or 4 renovation projects ongoing at once thus spreading the coverage across the city and throughout the library system. In addition, the City Librarian noted that that options such as offering bookmobile service for branches being renovated as well as increased hours at nearby branches could be provided. Commissioner Chin suggested that the bookmobiles could be moved around to provide services on alternative hours schedules to provide additional coverage. Vice President Steiman emphasized that the plans adopted should as much as possible maintain the hours of public services available.
AGENDA ITEM #5 EXCELSIOR LIBRARY PROP 14 APPLICATION
(Explanatory document: April 18 Prop. 14 Application outline memo)
Bond Program Manager Marilyn Thompson gave the Commissioners a detailed presentation covering the details of the lengthy application for Prop. 14 (State Library Bond) funds prepared for the Excelsior Branch Library. Ms. Thompson noted that the application itself was thirty pages long and it additionally included many pages of supporting documentation. Ms. Hildreth requested that the Commission hold a special meeting to consider recommending the Prop. 14 Application to the Board of Supervisors for its approval as required by law. Ms. Thompson outlined supporting documents including the boundary survey, the CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) Exemption Certificate, proof of title, studies such as structural, hazardous materials, energy audits, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance, and a project feasibility study. Ms. Hildreth noted that the package also included a letter of credit from the Friends and Foundation to provide the Library’s 35%-matching funds for that portion of the Prop. 14 Application that referred to furniture, fixtures and equipment that under the state bond program, unlike the local bonds, were allowed to be funded. Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood discussed extensively the Community Needs Assessment process including the very important Library Plan of Service, the Building Program, and conceptual plans for the branch. Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood noted that plans for this branch called for a reduction in the overall size of its book collections as part of a balancing effort to provide for as many of the kinds of library services that the community had requested in a facility of this size.
An anonymous member of the public found the explanatory documents inadequate and suggested that rushing to approve this application did not serve the public especially if it included plans to reduce branch book collections. This person commented that community outreach taken over time to consider each of the elements would be preferred to a fait accompli. Mr. Ed Regan suggested that every branch have a community room and requested a breakdown of the branch collections by fiction and non-fiction. Mr. Peter Warfield said that he was stunned by this proposal. He commented that it was being done in haste and that this was a disservice as the changes proposed would effect the library system for a generation. Mr. Warfield found appalling that so little time was provided to review a great deal of material and expressed disappointment at the proposed reduction in the branch book collection. Mr. Warfield commented that that there was not even an accurate inventory of the books in the branch and observed that this was not an appropriate plan for a new library.
In response to comments by Vice President Steiman, the City Librarian proposed to make Application information available as early as possible and pointed out that the overall size of the Library’s branch book collection was going to increase when the larger Glen Park and new Mission Bay Branch Libraries opened. President Higueras commented that the book collections at the Excelsior Branch should reflect the unique needs of the community and that the overall branch services plan should address as many of the service needs identified by neighborhood users as possible. President Higueras pointed out that currently the Excelsior Branch was very cramped and needed space for teens as well as for young children. He noted that this required a delicate balancing act to meet and to manage expectations for the renovated branch library. Commissioner Bautista noted that these plans needed to be tailored to the needs of each community. Vice President Steiman called attention to the importance of the improvements to bathroom facilities and the electrical infrastructure of the branch. In answer to a query by Commission Chin, the City Librarian explained the lack of a direct library-school district cooperative agreement for this branch noting that it could only be a renovation project as it only met the 2nd priority requirements as set out in Prop. 14. (State Library Bond).
The number of members of the public who spoke anonymously at this meeting. 1
Agenda item #6 PUBLIC COMMENT
An anonymous member of the public called attention to the retirement of a veteran Clerk of the Superior Count, noting that this person had served for 27 years, the same length of time that this person had been attending Library Commission meetings. The anonymous member of the public commented that they had learned during this time that there was no such thing as an illegitimate concern, that everyone has a right to an answer to their questions, and that the Commissioners must represent the public. This person commented that some concerns thought ridiculous turn out to be matters of great concern. Mr. Ed Regan suggested that Library public service hours be expanded from 6AM until Midnight 7 days per week, that the Library hire four carpenters to build furniture, and that such furniture be stockpiled for future use. Mr. Peter Warfield commented that adding computers did not justify a 10% reduction in the Excelsior Branch Library’s book collection and that the expressed priorities of Prop. E (Library Preservation Fund) was for books and hours.
Agenda Item #7 ADJOURNMENT
MOTION: At the suggestion of President Higueras by Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Chin that the meeting be adjourned In Memoriam of the late Thomas Fowler, Main Library 4th Floor Manager and a long time and much respected Library employee.
ACTION: AYE 4-0 (Bautista, Chin, Higueras, and Steiman)
The meeting was adjourned at 7:35PM.
Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 5/17/02
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.