Library Commission Minutes - June 4, 2002
Minutes of the regular meeting of Tuesday, June 4, 2002
(As approved corrected August 6, 2002)
The San Francisco Public Library Commission held its regular meeting on Tuesday, June 4, 2002 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.
President Higueras called the meeting to order at 4: 08PM.
The following members were noted present: Commissioners Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, and Swig. Commissioners Chin and Streets were excused attendance.
AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MAY 7, 2002 MINUTES
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MAY 7, 2002 MINUTES:
An anonymous member of the public indicated that public comment summary statements were being made available on the Library’s website, but observed that the Minutes were drained of meaning citing as examples reported remarks attributed to Mr. Regan and Commission Coulter. Mr. Ed Regan clarified his remarks related to the re-naming of Kezar Field for former San Francisco 49er Champion and Daly City Councilman Bob Sinclair as referring only to the stadium field rather than re-naming Kezar Stadium by the Recreation and Park Commission.
Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MAY 7, 2002 MINUTES:
MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Steiman for approval of the Minutes of May 7, 2002 with a clarification of Mr. Regan’s comments.
ACTION: AYE 5-0 (Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, and Swig)
AGENDA ITEM #2 CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT
City Librarian Susan Hildreth reported to the Commissioners concerning a matter not noticed in the agenda, about a recent federal court decision ruling unconstitutional the CIPA (Children’s Internet Protection Act), an issue of concern to the Library. The City Librarian then brought the Commissioners up to date with plans concerning the electrical/technology upgrade work at West Portal Branch, noting that the branch would have to be closed for 3 to 4 months to complete the work. Ms. Hildreth outlined the staff’s plans to provide service coverage and continue planned Summer Reading Program activities during the period that the branch would have to be closed. The City Librarian then provided a detailed overview of the Richmond Branch Library Design Workshop and announced that there would be a community meeting on June 27th to advise on the public art selection for the Richmond Branch. Next, Ms. Hildreth informed the Commissioners concerning a special exhibit honoring famed Argentine author Luis Borges in the Main Library’s Skylight Gallery on June 15 –September 2, 2002. The City Librarian then informed the Commissioners concerning the Library’s participation in the statewide California Council on the Humanities Grapes of Wrath reading project. Ms. Hildreth next provided the Library Commissioners with an accounting of the Friends and Foundation’s grant of $485,000 in support for library programs for 2002/03. Ms. Hildreth then reported on a planned June 11th meeting at the Glen Park Recreation Center to gather comment on conceptual design for the new branch library from the community. The City Librarian concluded her report with the presentation of a short video prepared by Library staff as a part of the Excelsior Branch Library’s Prop. 14 (State Library Bond) application.
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #2 CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT:
An anonymous member of the public commented that items were discussed that were not noted on the agenda. This person additionally commented on the federal court ruling and expressed the hope that the design workshop for the Richmond Branch would give greater attention to the community than those who raise money. Ms. Rebecca Silverberg, Excelsior Improvement Association, informed the Commissioners of her group’s recommendation that the community meeting room at the Excelsior Branch Library be named in honor of former Library Commissioner and neighborhood civic and business leader Walter Jebe. Mr. Ed Regan commented that he was opposed to the changes at the Excelsior Branch except for needed electrical upgrades. Mr. Peter Warfield expressed approval of the Federal court ruling the CIPA unconstitutional, and commented that the Excelsior video demonstrated the weaknesses of the existing Excelsior Branch library, but noted that it did not mention planned reduction in its book collections and space for reading. Mr. Warfield additionally remarked that the report on the Richmond Branch Design Workshop did not provide enough information for those wishing to participate. Rev. Roland Gordon, Pastor of the Ingleside Presbyterian Church, expressed his strong support for the proposed improvements at the Excelsior Branch Library.
Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #2 CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT:
Vice President Steiman noted the video captured the problems at the Excelsior Branch Library and expressed a hope that it would successfully support the Library’s application for Prop. 14 (State Library Bond) funding. In response to queries by Commissioners, Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood further discussed details of the planned Richmond Branch Library Design Workshop highlighting in particular the important role the branch staff would play in gathering community input. Commissioner Bautista observed that neighborhood children used the Excelsior Branch Library very much and that the renovation work, particularly upgrades in lighting and electrical infrastructure, planned there was very important to that community.
AGENDA ITEM #3 LIBRARY FACILITIES NAMING POLICY
City Librarian Susan Hildreth made a brief presentation on the latest proposed version of the Library’s Facilities Naming Policy. Then, Deputy City Attorney Catharine Barnes outlined the most recent revisions as requested by the Commissioners (copy attached) that she had made in Facilities Naming Policy. It was noted that issues such as naming of community rooms within a library facility were not addressed in this proposed policy on issues related to the naming of a facility.
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #3 BRANCH LIBRARY NAMING POLICY:
Rev. Roland Gordon, Pastor of the Ingleside Presbyterian Church, suggested that the policy be made flexible enough to allow for recognition of outstanding contributions and civic leadership by a living person. Rev. Gordon reported that the OMI (Ocean View, Merced, Ingleside) community felt Mayor Brown’s leadership in making the new Ocean View Library possible merited recognition by naming it in his honor. Mrs. Dorcas Thomas, a 30 year resident of the OMI, disagreed with the suggestion that the proposed policies allow for naming of living persons, finding that many institutions have policy on such recognition that require a person’s contributions to be objectively assessed after their death. Mrs. Agnes Morton, at 35-year resident of the OMI, strongly supported naming the new Ocean View branch Library in honor of Mayor Brown, noting that it would not have been built but for his leadership. Mr. Al Lewis, OMI resident, noted that the community had strongly supported Prop. A (Branch Library Bond 2000), that Mayor Brown had obtained the funds for the new library, and recognition for him such as had been given to other important African American historic figures like Mary Ellen Pleasant, Liedesdorff, Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was important to the community. Mr. Ed Regan commented that whether the service to the libraries was pay or volunteer should be considered and that what was "significant service" needed to more clearly defined. An anonymous member of the public commented that a meeting room did not meet the definition of a library facility, noted that there were no lack of honors for Mayor Brown, and elaborated on some of the issues raised when previous efforts had been made to name branch libraries. Ultimately, this person noted the only way to avoid controversy would be not to name libraries for individuals. Mr. Mike Bernardo, a OMI resident, spoke strongly in favor of naming the new Ocean View Branch Library to honor Mayor Brown, not only in recognition of his support for the library, but also to honor his more than 40 years of civic leadership for better housing, increased prosperity, and support for union labor. Mr. Peter Warfield found this version of the policy improved, but recommended striking out any reference to those requesting the change paying the costs of the name change in order to maintain equality of access to recognition for persons of all incomes who contributed to the betterment of the library. Dr. Lorenz Dill spoke strongly in favor of honoring Mayor Brown by adding his name to that of the Ocean View Branch Library noting that the Mayor’s decades of leadership and accomplishment in public service merited such significant recognition.
Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #3 LIBRARY FACILITIES NAMING POLICY:
Vice President Steiman noted that the new Ocean View Branch Library had been paid for by the City’s General Fund, not with any Prop. A (Branch Library Bond 2002) dollars, and that it would not have happened without Mayor Brown’s decision to put the city’s dollars into making the worst branch library in the system into one of its best. She noted however, that as a matter of policy she still favored requiring that someone to be so honored be no longer living. President Higueras suggested that a phrase be inserted into the policy to make clear that it referred to free standing facilities, not rooms within a building. Commissioner Bautista cited that the example of a major civic philanthropist such as Louise Davies, honored in her lifetime with the naming of Symphony Hall, and the major role played by the Mayor in creating the new Ocean View Branch Library and the wish of the community to recognize his contributions might make the Commission want to reconsider requirements that honorees be deceased. Commissioner Swig thanked the community members for letting the Commission know their concerns with this issue and noted that the Mayor had been very supportive of the Library but expressed some concern with the Commission taking action to honor an elected official during their term in office. Commissioner Coulter commented that this was a sensitive issue and that excluding the naming of entire facilities for living individuals did not rule out other policies to be created to provide other significant means for recognition of important contributions. Commissioner Coulter found the proposed policy a good one with the clarification that it referred to entire facilities. Commissioner Swig concluded that she favored retaining a requirement that the honoree be deceased. President Higueras noted that there was benefit in waiting for a period of time to pass to allow for a balanced assessment of an individual’s contributions and noted there could be a potential conflict of interest for a body composed of appointees of an elected official to name a public facility in that individual’s honor. Deputy City Attorney Catharine Barnes noted the Board of Supervisors retained the right under the City Charter to override any decision regarding naming made by the Library Commission.
Motion: by Vice President Steiman, seconded by Commissioner Swig for approval of the proposed draft with a clarification that it applied to entire facilities not spaces within them.
Action: AYE 4-1 (Aye-Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, and Swig) (No-Bautista)
AGENDA ITEM #4 LIBRARY 2002/03 BUDGET UPDATE
(Explanatory document: 2002/03-Library Budget update report)
Mr. George Nichols, Library Finance Director brought the Library Commissioners up to date on the most recent developments in the approval of the Library’s 2002/03 budget. The Library Finance Director reported that the Mayor had released the budget to the Board of Supervisors for its consideration and that the proposed budget reflected the Mayor’s priorities. The Library Finance Director noted that with declining General Fund revenues and facing additional reduction in state revenues, the City could face an addition $10 to $15 million shortfall making difficult choices during the next two months. Mr. Nichols then described the Board of Supervisors’ budget approval process. Mr. Nichols then detailed the outline of the proposed Library Budget noting that Prop. E (Library Preservation Fund) revenues had increased even with a decline in City’s General Fund revenues for a net increase of $3.2 million in the Library revenues. Mr. Nichols reported that this meant that there would be no reductions in Library programs or services and that the Library would end the current fiscal year with a 6% reserve. The Library’s Finance Director discussed the $425,00 in children’s services programs that the Mayor’s Budget Office had shifted to the Library’s Budget to offset revenue losses elsewhere and noted that the General Fund would be capturing $70,000 in state reimbursements that had been going to the Library. Mr. Nichols also reported that the revenues from the public copying and printing fees would also go into the City’s General Fund. The Library Finance Director identified a $125,000 augmentation to the Library’s Budget to fund the Tool Lending Center and noted that there would be an overall $372,000 increase in the Library’s proposed budget. Mr. Nichols reported the budget as $78.1 million with a breakdown of $54.298 million for operating expenditures and a $23.820 million capital budget for 2002/02. The Finance Director then outlined step by step the process that would lead to a final budget approved by the Board of Supervisors and signed by the Mayor by August 1. The City Librarian informed the Commissioners that there could be additional changes related to ongoing negotiations concerning retirement costs givebacks by labor.
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #4 2002/03 BUDGET UPDATE:
An anonymous member of the public noted that they had been unable to find copies of the slides presented on the budget at the rear of the auditorium and that it was their belief that the Library was being compelled to shoulder costs with Library Preservation Fund in a way that was not supposed to happen. This person noted that funding the Tool Lending Center had been controversial and that a decision to fund it with library funds despite the position taken by Library Commission was not consistent with the priorities for more books and hours for libraries (in Prop. E Library Preservation Fund). Mr. Peter Warfield found the presentation difficult to follow and suggested that there was only a small increase for books in a budget that had significant overall increases in spending. Mr. Warfield commented that he did not see increases in spending for books and more hours and indeed amounts for books seemed to be going down.
Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #4 2002/02 BUDGET UPDATE:
In response to questions by Vice President Steiman, Mr. Nichols explained the shift in the structure of how Children and Youth Services Fund programming was funded and how some of these programs were shifted to the Library Budget. Vice President Steiman remarked that she felt that the spirit of Prop. E (Library Preservation Fund) was being creatively circumvented and that she was not happy about this. Vice President Steiman commented that this created a very bad precedent and that it was unlikely that the costs of funding these programs would ever be shifted away from the Library in the future. She additionally noted that the reality of further state budget reductions and General Fund revenue shortfalls did not offer a good outlook for the future but that a message needed to be sent to leave library funding alone. In response to a query regarding what would happen if the budget was not approved by August 1, Mr. Nichols reported that the Board of Supervisors would adopt an interim funding ordinance until the final approval of the budget. President Higueras noted that there were some very innovative ways being developed to address the revenue shortfall but that the Library needed to consider ways it could use to recoup the funds outside of the Prop. E revenue stream. He noted that in the final analysis the decision to reallocate the funds was a fiscal policy decision of the city. Commissioner Bautista observed that she had become aware of the popularity of the Tool Lending Center and suggested that its funding should be continued.
AGENDA ITEM #5 AFFINITY CENTERS REPORT
City Archivist Susan Goldstein, Manager of the San Francisco History Center provided the Commissioners with an update of recent programming and activities at the History Center. She called particular attention to work done to make the mayoral papers and documents of the administrations of former Mayors Robinson, Christopher, and Alioto available at the History Center and on the website. Ms. Goldstein reported that the official papers of Mayors Shelley, Jordan and Agnos were undergoing preparation would be available in the near future. The History Center Manager informed the Commissioners about current exhibits including "We are Still Here" an exhibit featuring the experiences of a survivor of the 1906 Earthquake and Fire, an exhibit of early glass plate negatives of the Greek American Community, and concerning San Francisco History Walks. The City Archivist then discussed at some length the popular "Shades of San Francisco" program where photo days are held at branch libraries providing an opportunity for neighborhood residents to bring in historic family photos of their neighborhood and have them copied and preserved in the Library’s collections of local history at the Main Library and at their local branch. Ms. Goldstein reported very successful "Shades" programs had been held at the Western Addition, Mission, and Ocean View Branch Libraries. Ms. Goldstein reported that her staff was working on a Shades Exhibit and hoped to publish the Library’s own "Shades of San Francisco" collection. Ms. Goldstein also indicated that the San Francisco History Center was conducting a survey of historical materials in the branch library collections.
Mr. Gardener Haskell, Main Library 5th Floor Manager then gave the Commissioners an update on recent activities at the Wallace Stegner Environmental Center. Mr. Haskell called attention to programming oriented to examining and understanding the environment in San Francisco, the Bay Area, and California in context of their place in the global environment. The 5th Floor Manager noted that Stegner Center programs focused on local issues to bring in and engage the environmental community as library users through use of well known speakers and presentations on topics of strong local interest. Mr. Haskell cited the recent "Farley: Eco Warrior" exhibit, an exhibit on the "Wild Sea Lions of Pier 39", and "Parrots of Telegraph Hill" as examples of recent very popular and successful Stegner Center programs. Mr. Haskell highlighted how the Stegner Center was able to combine many elements of the library’s services in programming around local author Mark Bitner’s the Parrots of Telegraph Hill including gathering specialized books on wild parrots and even including a documentary video.
President Higueras called for a brief recess at 6:13PM.
President Higueras left the meeting during the recess.
The Commission returned to session at 6:23PM
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #5 AFFINITY CENTERS REPORT:
An anonymous member of the public noted that the centers’ work were the kind of things that people believed that the Library was all about. This person noted that the Library had done oral history programs that could be combined with the photos now being gathered. Mr. Ed Regan suggested that these historic photographs be displayed in senior citizens rooms in each branch library. Mr. Peter Warfield commented that the reports highlighted the Library’s collections, provided insight into with collecting local history, provided information for projects such as writing autobiographies, and called attention to their use as a springboard for other projects.
Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #5 AFFINITY CENTERS REPORT:
President Higueras commended Ms. Thompson’s carrying out the Library Commission’s mandate to pursue design excellence on Branch Library Bond program projects.
In response to questions by Commissioner Bautista, Ms. Goldstein discussed in some detail how the Library had digitized more than 30,000 of its collection of historic photographs and that these could be viewed on the web. The City Librarian reported that each of the "Shades" projects cost roughly $10,000 and that the staff planned more such neighborhood history projects as funds became available. Commissioner Bautista suggested outreach to neighborhood merchant groups as a likely source for such funding. Commissioner Coulter expressed his appreciation for the good work that the centers were doing and recommended renewed outreach to the original donors who had contributed to creation of the centers as a source for continued funding for program activities. Commissioner Coulter noted the critical importance of the History Center. Commissioner Swig noted that large numbers of people would be interested in and supportive of these programs. Vice President Steiman called attention to the importance of keeping neighborhood archives, such as in the Glen Park Branch, and suggested that those collections be digitized as well and that making them available could be a good way to expand outreach into the neighborhoods.
AGENDA ITEM #6 LIBRARY SECURITY REPORT
Library Security Chief Rachel MacLachlan provided the Commission with an extensive overview of Library security issues as they had unfolded following the Commission’s adoption of revised Guidelines for Library Use. Ms. MacLachlan reported that the new guidelines had been of significant help to security staff in fairly and impartially enforcing rules when confronted with difficult behavior by library users. The Library Security Chief noted that the increased security resources provided to the Branches in the budget had significantly improved her staff’s ability to quickly respond to security issues at branch libraries. In particular Ms. MacLachlan reported on the security issues experienced by large branches such as Chinatown in contrast to the less difficult problems at smaller branches. The Library Security Chief noted that implementation of the time-out software should eliminate a major source of disputes between library users that security staff had had to address. Ms. MacLachlan discussed in great detail how her staff would have responded had they been notified at the time it occurred to a situation reported in a letter to the Board of Supervisors by a library user who witnessed another user urinating in a Main Library elevator. Ms. MacLachlan further discussed how her staff attempted to address the spill over of social problems in the Civic Center area that affected the Main Library. The Library Security Chief then outlined how she proposed to deploy security staff in the branches to provide an even higher level of security and managed her staff schedules so that all security staff were cross trained to be able to handle problems in the Main Library or at a branch. Ms. MacLachlan also noted that she was working closely with the staff at Chinatown and other branches to identify better ways to address their security concerns.
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #6 LIBRARY SECURITY REPORT:
An anonymous member of the public expressed appreciation the report included information on the incident reported to the Board of Supervisors. This individual suggested that none of these issues occurred in a vacuum but resulted from serious systemic social problems that were then left up to security staff to address. Mr. Ed Regan found the presentation good and recommended installation of security devices at branch libraries. Mr. Regan requested a report on all books lost or stolen and recommended creation of a security room at each branch library that could also respond to problems in the neighborhood. Mr. Peter Warfield expressed appreciation for the detailed report and suggested that the Library find ways to use silent alarms or at least lower the sound level of the anti-theft devices currently in use. Mr. Warfield expressed concerns with the implementation of the time out software noting privacy concerns and other issues.
Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #6 LIBRARY SECURITY REPORT:
Vice President Steiman commended the thorough and detailed nature of the report and thanked security staff for their outstanding effort to promote the safety of all library users.
AGENDA ITEM #7 ILS EVALUATION REPORT
(Explanatory document: ILS process update report)
Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood presented an overview of the ongoing efforts to evaluate the various integrated library systems (ILS) that are under consideration by the Library. Mr. Underwood discussed in detail the RFP (Request For Proposals) process being used and process to be used by the staff evaluation panels to consider and evaluate the different systems. Mr. Underwood then outlined the public participation element in the ILS evaluation process and identified various dates when evaluation session would be held.
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #7 ILS EVALUATION REPORT:
An anonymous member of the public observed that they wished that they had had more to say but that the proposal was not sufficiently detailed. This person commented: that they found the low point value assigned to costs shocking; that the various panels would make decisions based on criteria not known to the public; that the public input was not subject to defined criteria; and that there was insufficient evaluation of what kind of system might best for the greater number of users. The anonymous member of the public recommended that there be a detailed evaluation of the benefits of each option presented when the Commission is asked to approve selection of a system instead of use of a system based on subjective evaluations. Mr. Peter Warfield spoke about his understanding of the process to date and found it lacking in public input. Mr. Warfield requested details of previous evaluations including the scoring used and expressed a desire that the public be asked to make suggestions. Mr. Warfield noted that he believed that a new catalog was being sought because of the problems with the current catalog.
Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #7 ILS EVALUATION REPORT:
In response to Commissioners’ comments the Deputy City Librarian outlined how the public would have the opportunity to look at various other library’s systems and noted that the requirement of the RFP process mandated a structured type of public input. Mr. Underwood noted that the staff had been very careful and thoughtful in developing criteria set out in the RFP, (Request for Proposals) so that the specific needs of the Library would be matched against the capacities of the various systems under consideration. Mr. Underwood reported that a staff recommendation should be ready for the Library Commission’s review at its August meeting.
AGENDA ITEM #8 FRIENDS AND FOUNDATION REPORT
Martín Gómez, Executive Director of the Friends & Foundation, reported to the Commission on the Friends & Foundations 2002/03 grant of $485,000 in gifts to the Library. Mr. Gómez called the Commissioners’ attention to a supplemental gift of $130,00 for the Hormel Center and reported on greater outreach efforts by a Friends & Foundation funded outreach coordinator for other Library affinity centers. Mr. Gómez noted that the Friends & Foundation proposed to support future "Shades" programs but that their current #1 priority was the Capital Campaign for the Branch Libraries. The Friends & Foundation Executive Director informed the Commissioners of upcoming book sales and Friends & Foundation supported events at the Library.
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #8 FRIENDS AND FOUNDATION REPORT:
An anonymous member of the public remarked that as soon as something good about the library is identified it is turned into an opportunity for private fundraising. This individual also commented that dehumanization in society leads to graffiti and defacement and one does not exist without the other.
AGENDA ITEM #9 LABOR UNION REPORT
AGENDA ITEM #10 NEW BUSINESS
AGENDA ITEM #11 PUBLIC COMMENT
Mr. Ed Regan suggested that Library public service hours be expanded from 6AM until Midnight seven days per week. Mr. Warfield found the Chair’s ruling that no public comment would be taken on the New Business item unfortunate and expressed appreciation for Vice President Steiman’s remarks in defense of Prop. E funds being reserved for library uses. An anonymous member of the public wondered how good faith could be defined in the Proposition E (Library Preservation Fund) discussion and observed that they had many times commented that the Library was invested in keeping the Library Commission ignorant of what was going on. The anonymous member of the public found the Commission resistant to public comment and suggested that it defamed and ridiculed people, created barriers, and then blamed the victim. This anonymous member of the public commented on what they believed distinguished business and protected philanthropy. This person noted that they had thought themselves exempt, but that not one escapes and once becoming aware one sees it everywhere.
AGENDA ITEM #12 ADJOURNMENT
Motion: by Commissioner Coulter, seconded by Commissioner Bautista that the meeting be adjourned.
Action: AYE 4-0 (Bautista, Coulter, Steiman, and Swig)
The meeting was adjourned at 7:37PM.
Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 8/7/02
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
San Francisco Public Library Commission Policy Manual
Library Facilities Naming Policy Policy #601
Adopted: June ‘96
Revised: June ‘02
It is the policy of the San Francisco Public Library to name libraries according to geographic location and to identify each branch facility with the neighborhood where it is located or the neighborhood it primarily serves. This Policy enables anyone interested in finding a library to easily ascertain its location by its geographic or neighborhood name.
It shall be the general policy of the San Francisco Public Library not to name any library facility for any person, living or deceased. However, in the rare instance where there are reasons so compelling that adding the name of a person to the geographic name of a specific branch library, or to another library facility, may be appropriate, it shall be the policy of the San Francisco Public Library not to name any library facility for any living person, or for any person deceased less than one year. This restriction permits the Library Commission to evaluate the lifetime contributions and accomplishments of a proposed honoree, and protects from making decisions in reaction to transitory or emotional considerations.
The Library Commission shall approve adding the name of a person to the geographic name of a specific branch library, or to another library facility only where:
* the proposed honoree is associated with a myriad of services and had dedicated a substantial amount of energy, time, resources, leadership and volunteer service to improve and benefit the San Francisco Public Library system or the library facility in question. The depth and breadth of the contributions must be obvious and compelling and must reflect a dedication and beneficence to the the San Francisco Public Library system or the library facility in question over a great span of time;
* there must be a strong consensus among library users and, in the case of branch libraries, residents of the surrounding neighborhood, to add the name of the proposed honoree to the library facility in question;
* the proposed honoree should reflect the spirit of the San Francisco Public Library 's mission of free and equal access to information for all;
* the new name should avoid controversy and not carry the banner of a transitory cause, no matter how worthy, but rather, reflect the tradition and stability of the Library as an institution, and
* it must be in the public interest to approve the proposed name.
In summary, adding the name of a person to a library facility is reserved for the rare individual whose dedication and service to the San Francisco Public Library system or the library facility in question is extraordinary, unique and of the highest quality.
PROCEDURES FOR EVALUATING PROPOSALS TO ADD THE NAME OF A PERSON TO THE GEOGRAPHIC NAME OF A LIBRARY FACILITY:
1. Any member of the Library Commission or member of the public may propose a name to be added to the geographic name of a specific branch library, or to another library facility, by submitting a request in writing to the Library Commission, or by making an oral request during public open time at any regularly scheduled meeting of the Library Commission. The proponents of the name addition must submit thorough and rigorous written research demonstrating that the proposed honoree meets the stringent criteria set forth in this Policy.
2. The President of the Library Commission, in his or her sole discretion, shall determine whether a proposal is sufficiently documented to warrant further consideration by the Library Commission. Where a proposal does not appear to meet the criteria of this Policy, or where the proposal lacks sufficient documentation to determine whether it satisfies the criteria, the President shall advise its proponents of the deficiencies and provide a reasonable opportunity for the proponents to supplement the request. The President shall keep the Library Commission advised as to the existence and status of pending naming requests.
3. The President of the Library Commission shall place any proposal that appears to meet the criteria set forth in this Policy on the Library Commission agenda for general discussion and public comment at one or more regular or special meetings of the Library Commission. Where the proposal involves a branch library, the President shall schedule a meeting in the branch library facility for which the name is proposed or elsewhere in the neighborhood served by such facility, to obtain direct testimony from members of the public living in the neighborhood of the facility.
4. At any time after giving proponents of the name addition and the public an opportunity to be heard, after obtaining direct neighborhood testimony (in the case of branch library proposed name additions), and upon proper notice, the Library Commission shall call for a vote on the issue of whether the proposal meets the criteria set forth in this Policy and whether it is in the public interest to add the proposed name to the geographic name of a neighborhood branch library, or to another library facility. The affirmative vote by a majority of the members of the Library Commission shall be required to approve the addition of a person's name to a library facility. In all cases involving branch libraries, the geographic name of the facility shall precede the honorific name.
5. The Library Commission shall, either at the time it approves the addition of an honorific name, or in a subsequent meeting, designate the method of display of the name addition, which may be by exterior building signage, interior plaque, or any other means appropriate to the specific site. The party who proposed the name to be added to the geographic name of a branch library or other library facility shall bear all costs associated with adding the honorific name, including staff time and material expenses, unless the Commission finds it in the public interest to waive this requirement in whole or in part.
Public Comment available for viewing in pdf format.