Library Commission Minutes - February 6, 2001
Minutes of the regular meeting of Tuesday, February 6, 2001 (As approved April 3, 2001)
The San Francisco Public Library Commission held its regular meeting on Tuesday, February 6, 2001 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.
The meeting was called to order at 4: 05PM by President Higueras.
The following members were noted present: President Higueras, and Commissioners Bautista, Coulter, Steiman, and Swig.
The Secretary noted Commissioners Chin and Streets arrival was expected shortly.
President Higueras announced the Agenda Item #6 will be taken up 4th with the rest of the agenda to follow in order.
AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF NOVEMBER 16, 2000 SPECIAL COMMISSION MEETING
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF NOVEMBER 16, 2000 SPECIAL COMMISSION MEETING
Mr. Peter Warfield commented on the page 3 report on the lack of cost figures on the Library Technology Plan discussion and emphasized that the point of his comment on page 5 was that everyone should have access to copies of documents prior to a Commission Meeting.
Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF NOVEMBER 16, 2000 SPECIAL COMMISSION MEETING
MOTION: by Commissioner Coulter, seconded by Commissioner Swig for approval of the Minutes.
ACTION: AYE 5-0 (Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, and Swig)
AGENDA ITEM #2 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF DECEMBER 5, 2000 REGULAR COMMISSION MEETING
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #2 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF DECEMBER 5, 2000 REGULAR COMMISSION MEETING
Mr. Peter Warfield noted that a request was made concerning taking public comment on an item and that later on page one noted that he had expressed concern that he had not been allowed to offer public comment prior to the Commission's going into closed session. He also called attention to the absence of public comment summary statements in the Minutes Appendix A.
Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #2 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF DECEMBER 5, 2000 REGULAR COMMISSION MEETING
President Higueras recalled that Mr. Warfield had asked a question regarding taking public comment prior to the Commission's going into closed session. The Commission Secretary responded that questions from the public were not in order at that point and that perhaps an appropriate way to note the exchange would be to clarify the report to read that the Commission President had announced that there would be one public comment period for all matters related to the closed session. Commissioner Coulter requested that whenever possible personal pronouns be used to replace repetitive use of "An anonymous member of the public" when reporting public comments in the minutes.
MOTION: by Commissioner Coulter, seconded by Commissioner Steiman for approval of the Minutes of December 5, 2000.
ACTION: AYE 5-0 (Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, Steiman, and Swig)
AGENDA ITEM #3 CITY LIBRARIAN'S REPORT
The Acting City Librarian gave an update on Main Library improvements noting that Huber, Hunt, Nichols, the building's primary contractor, had agreed to pay to replace incorrectly installed sign panels, to fund installation of handrails at the Grand Staircase, and to install exterior anti-skateboard devices. Ms. Hildreth further reported that UV filters had been installed in the Skylight Gallery and window shades would soon be installed. The Acting City Librarian reported that the American Library Association (ALA) would be holding its annual meeting in San Francisco in June. Ms. Hildreth reported that there will be a great many activities in connection with the meeting including a scholarship celebration hosted by ALA in place of the gala which had formerly been an obligation of the host library. Ms. Hildreth informed the Commissioners concerning the controversial choice of the Marriott Hotel as the headquarters facility for the meeting, noting that the San Francisco Public Library had had no role in that choice. Ms. Hildreth reported that the Library had informed ALA leadership that the ongoing labor dispute between the hotel and its employees could create problems during the gathering. She additionally noted that some ALA related events would be held in the Main Library during normal operating hours.
Public comment on Agenda Item #3 CITY LIBRARIAN'S REPORT:
Timothy West, representing SEIU Local 790, a Library employee union, provided the Commissioners with background information on the labor dispute between the Hotel and Restaurant Workers Union, Local 2 and the Marriott. Mr. West expressed dismay that the ALA had chosen the Marriott for its meeting and discussed ongoing picketing of the hotel which had been requested by the hotel's workers as an effort to persuade the hotel's management to negotiate a fair labor agreement.
Commission comment on Agenda Item #3 CITY LIBRARIAN'S REPORT
In response to questions by President Higueras, the Acting City Librarian explained that although the Marriott Hotel was the headquarters hotel there would be many other venues for conference programs so that our library staff could participate without crossing any picket lines. Commissioner Bautista suggested that the Library again formally communicate its concerns with the ALA's choice of the Marriott Hotel as headquarters for its annual meeting in view of its labor problems.
Commissioner Chin joined the meeting at 4:20PM
Agenda Item #6 BRANCH FACILITIES UNIVERSAL BUILDING PROGRAM
The Acting City Librarian introduced Jorge Alfaro, Department of Public Works, Bureau of Architecture, library consultant Dallas Shaffer, and Mr. Charlie Dunn of the Department of Real Estate to give individual reports on the various elements of the Facilities Plan, the universal building program, and the site selection process for new branch libraries. President Higueras announced that he would take 2 minutes of public comment following each of the three parts of this agenda item.
Mr. Alfaro described in some detail to the Commissioners how the Department of Public Works had been developing an extensive plan to act as a guide for facilities improvement and development. The plan was described as including an historical overview of branch libraries from the Carnegie Buildings to those most recently built in the 1960s. Additionally the plan was reported to contain analysis of demographic changes on a neighborhood by neighborhood basis, a review of all current services and branch services goals, and information on how design proposals could impact the way services were provided. Mr. Alfaro further discussed how new technologies could be incorporated into the design program. Mr. Alfaro also discussed the development of overall design guidelines for both new and existing buildings. He also spoke about how best to maximize use of functional existing systems, so that only dysfunctional and outdated systems need be replaced. Mr. Alfaro described how the Department would also evaluate the environment surrounding the buildings and include that information in its examination of all aspects of a building's use, functionality, and long term durability. Mr. Alfaro explained in elaborate detail how the cost figures for the various projects were determined and described the process used to verify the accuracy of these cost projections. Mr. Alfaro also spoke about issues concerning the scheduling of various projects.
Public comment on Mr. Alfaro's report
An anonymous member of the public chose to reserve 2 minutes of comment to later in the presentation. Ms. Martie Kashuba expressed concern that educational levels in a neighborhood would be used as a factor in making decisions on branch book collections. She urged that working class neighborhood libraries have good literature available and that the library served as an educational leveler not needing more mysteries. Mr. Ed Regan suggested that an effort be made to develop a model of what the Commission wanted to see in a library, and suggested that all branches have a basement and a second floor. He noted that he found the new $2.5 million Ocean View branch an improvement but that it wasn't open enough hours. Mr. Peter Warfield inquired if this report was an update of a May report or an entirely new report. He expressed concern that there was no mention of assessing branch collections or about what kind of collection development, including increasing the size of the collections, might be considered. Mr. Warfield noted there seemed no discussion about built in shelving for books or about objectives for book space. He expressed surprise at the inclusion of discussion about parking and wondered how public input into these plans would be taken.
Commission comment on Mr. Alfaro's Report
In response to questions by President Higueras, the Acting City Librarian discussed in general how branch collections would be addressed as part of the universal building plan. Vice President Steiman noted that in many cases the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the seismic safety improvements would limit the amount of new available space for some branch library collections. The Acting City Librarian noted that the five new branches would all have an increase in the space available for collections as well as in some older branches such as the Richmond Branch. Vice President Steiman suggested that the issue of collection development was a separate from that of creating space for collections to be housed. Commission Bautista inquired concerning what would be done to retain the historical colors in the renovation of the Carnegie branches. Mr. Alfaro responded with an extensive discussion of the various options that could be considered in renovating the historic branches.
AGENDA ITEM #6 Ms. Dallas Shaffer's report
Library consultant Dallas Shaffer noted that this process was a rare opportunity to evaluate and reorganize how branch libraries serve the public. She discussed the creation of a model template that addressed the common functions of all branches that could then be modified to address the needs of a particular project. She noted that a nine-member staff committee, representing a broad spectrum of the library's staff, developed the draft universal building program together with Mr. Alfaro and Ms. Shaffer. She then discussed how other libraries had approached similar situations. Ms. Shaffer next described the committee's visits to libraries in San Jose, Portland, Oregon, and what has been described as the library of the future in Richmond, British Columbia to gather insight and learn from the experience of similar library systems. She then spoke about a series of staff workshops over a two day period in October which allowed 160 library staff members with specific areas of expertise and interest, such as maintenance staff, to discuss in depth how these concerns could be fully addressed in the draft plan. Ms. Shaffer then reported that several meetings of the committee followed to include the new information gathered and to seek additional input at General staff meetings. She reported that there would be additional opportunities for staff input and comment following the Commission's discussion of the proposed model.
Ms. Shaffer then discussed current trends in library development. She noted that everyone wanted more resources and every kind of new technology available. Ms. Shaffer pointed out that branch collections were expected to contain more resources, a greater variety of books, CDs, laser disks, and audio and video materials. Ms. Shaffer discussed the challenges of accommodating new technology while balancing tech access with book collections and reading space. She also noted increasing demand that branch library function as community centers, providing community-meeting spaces. All of this she suggested placed high demands that facilities' design emphasize flexibility, facilitate traffic flow, provide ease of management for both staff and patrons of the flow of materials, and allow for balanced use of space. Ms. Shaffer noted that things such as patron sorting of returned materials, express-check out, and fundamental re-evaluation of a branch' s actual service points were all elements in the new planning. She suggested that combining service desks, reconsidering how materials are shelved, how clutter could be minimized, and interfiling of children's and adult fiction and non-fiction collections could maximize use of limited spaces in branch libraries. She next discussed creation of study and activities space as well as creation of community use rooms. Ms. Shaffer emphasized that the draft plan was only a model that should be understood to be a starting point for developing branches responsive to unique individual needs of San Francisco's neighborhood. She noted that the plan will evolve over the life of the bond program as new needs are identified.
Public comment on Ms. Shaffer's Report
Mr. Ed Regan suggested that the book collections be made more user friendly if special collections were created by subject matter and publisher. He also suggested that every branch have a senior's room and a pamphlets room. An anonymous member of the public chose to reserve 2 minutes of comment to later in the presentation. Mr. Peter Warfield expressed concern with what he felt was no commitment to creating space for books. Mr. Warfield was puzzled by apparent changes in policy such as interfiling of children's and adult collections or the creation of study rooms in this plan rather that by Commission or administrative action. Ms. Martie Kashuba expressed concern that money for the four new libraries could disappear given the fact that she was still waiting for disabled access improvements at the Bernal Heights branch.
Commission comment on Ms. Shaffer's report
There was extensive discussion among the Commissioners concerning the proposals Ms. Shaffer presented. Vice President Steiman suggested that there would need to be careful planning to allow both trying new approaches but still permitting for returning to the old way of presenting branch collections if they didn't work out. She also expressed strong support for keeping specialized collections such as teen collections. Commissioner Swig called attention to the importance of addressing energy conservation concerns in planning the branches. The Acting City Librarian described the steps that the Library would undertake as a primary design consideration to improve energy efficiency and conservation. Mr. Alfaro described how the existing passive heating systems could be effectively used to manage heating energy needs. In response to questions by Commissioner Bautista, Mr. Alfaro noted that solar panels could be considered for use on both the new facilities as well as some existing branches. Ms. Hildreth observed that placing emergency generators in every facility could be a very costly and needed to be carefully considered.
Agenda item #6 Mr. Charlie Dunn's report on Site Acquisition
Mr. Charlie Dunn of the Department of Real Estate gave the Commissioners a detailed report on the ongoing efforts to identify potential locations for the four branch libraries located in leased facilities: Portola, Visitacion Valley, Ingleside, and the Glen Park. Mr. Dunn outlined the basic perimeters of: up to 7,000 sq. ft. of available space; vacant; a visible location such as a corner accessible to public transit and near schools; and containing no toxic clean up problems. He noted that such sites were not easy to find but that his Department had identified a number of likely locations after a careful process of elimination. Mr. Dunn reported only non-residential sites were considered, that both historic structures and important neighborhood serving business locations were eliminated, and that sites both too large and to small were not considered. He proposed that the remaining locations be carefully evaluated and then a number of them be brought to the Library Commission for its consideration. He requested that the Commission consider that if this process met its needs, then the various 28 potential sites would be presented to neighborhood groups at each of the branch libraries for their consideration, and that then based on that process that the Commission consider a limited group of locations based on staff recommendations resulting from the neighborhood meetings. In response to a question by Vice President Steiman, Mr. Dunn confirmed that not all of the potential sites could be clearly identified as for sale until his Department entered into negotiations with their owners.
Public comment on Mr. Dunn's Report on Site Acquisition
An anonymous member of the public expressed regret at having missed any explanation of the manner in which the agenda was being taken up, noting that this individual had filed suit against the Library on the issue of fragmented agendas in the past. The anonymous member of the public expressed a view that it was important to address the totality of an agenda item. The anonymous member of the public discussed the historic considerations involved in this process noting that planned temporary branch libraries had become permanent additions because of the needs of individual neighborhoods. This individual emphasized the importance of design flexibility being taken seriously, noting previous experience with promises of flexibility of design for the Main Library. The question of a universal building program with potentially cookie cutter structures detrimental to neighborhood character raised concerns for the anonymous member of the public, who suggested that neighborhoods even a short distance apart consider themselves distinctly different. Mr. Ed Regan agreed that locations in business areas were preferable, the branches should have public transit access, and that all branches should have a community room. Ms. Sue Cauthen requested she be allowed to reserve her comment period but was informed that this was the final comment opportunity for this specific item. Ms. Nora Daley inquired concerning the community meetings to be scheduled and was informed by the Acting City Librarian that a schedule of meetings would be made available. Mr. Peter Warfield found Mr. Dunn's presentation admirable but questioned the source of the figure of 7,000 sq. ft. Mr. Warfield noted that recently San Jose had approved a bond measure to double the size of its branches. Mr. Warfield expressed concern that books and book storage was not addressed. He noted corner locations were not necessary, suggested set back buildings should be considered, recommended that the adaptation of historic buildings be considered, and expressed a wish to know more about how these proposals would be developed.
Commission comment on Mr. Dunn's Report on Site Acquisition
In response to questions by President Higueras, the Acting City Librarian discussed how the size of the various proposed replacement branches had been set out in the Prop. A Branch Library Renovation and Construction Bond program. Vice President Steiman expressed strong support for the approach that extensive community input guides the site selection process. In response to suggestions by Commissioners Bautista and Chin for joint projects with the School District, the Parking Authority, BART, and other government agencies to share sites, Mr. Dunn reported his Department's active discussion with other city departments and government agencies in the course of its search for potential locations. Commissioner Chin offered the suggestion that perhaps fewer larger branch libraries would be preferable to several small branches. Vice President Steiman noted that if a good location could be found the Glen Park Branch could be made larger. Vice President Steiman noted that while larger branches could be better, they would be more costly, and that neighborhoods were strongly attached to having a local library. Both Commissioners Chin and Bautista observed that efforts should be made to expand services to teens and for several other underserved groups such as small children. Commissioner Bautista suggested a survey be done to identify underserved groups and plan in response to the information. The Acting City Librarian proposed that the final draft of the facilities plan be brought to the Commission for its consideration after additional public input in June.
Commissioner Swig left the meeting at 5:55PM
President Higueras called for a brief recess at 5:59PM The Commission returned to session at 6:15PM
AGENDA ITEM #4 SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION REQUEST
The Acting Librarian informed the Commission of some revisions in the sources of the funding for the projects covered by the proposed supplemental appropriations. She also noted that Mr. Phil Sowers of the Department of Public Works would address the Commission's concerns with the seating at the Grove Street entrance and vandalism of table surfaces. Finance Director George Nichols provided the Commission with information about a significant increase over the amounts previously estimated by the City Controller in General Fund monies available to the Library during this fiscal year. Mr. Nichols noted that these unanticipated revenues would be available to be spent on Library projects that had been proposed to be funded in part with Library Improvement Funds. Mr. Nichols informed the Commissioners of an $1,433, 727 increase in Prop. E (Library Preservation Fund) monies. He further explained that this new funding would allow the entire amount of the proposed supplemental appropriation to be funded with monies now available in this year's budget. Mr. Nichols noted that these new funds would mean that none of the Prop. E property tax set-asides funds would be needed for these projects and that an additional reserve of $229,000 could be added to the Library Improvement Fund for future use. Mr. Nichols reported that the City Attorney would be issuing a formal opinion on the Library's proper use of Prop. E. (Library Improvement Fund) monies for repair, maintenance, and upkeep in response to a request by Supervisor Yee. Mr. Nichols pointed out that this request was fully consistent with the Library's use of Prop. E funds to maintain Library facilities.
Mr. Phil Sowers discussed in great detail his efforts to meet with various manufacturers' representatives to find a more cost-effective ways of repairing library tabletops that had been vandalized. Mr. Sowers offered a number of suggestions regarding various options that the Commission could choose to address this problem. In addition, Mr. Sowers presented a revised approach to addressing concerns with retaining some seating for patrons waiting at the Grove Street entrance. Mr. Sowers pointed that that the revised plan would match the building's design, provide seating, and also address the maintenance concerns.
Agenda item #4 Public comment Supplement Appropriation Request
An anonymous member of the public commented that the issue of the wooden tabletops/ furniture had been included then dropped from the POE (Post Occupancy Evaluation Report on the Main Library). The anonymous member of the public suggested that addressing this problem was not thus responding to a problem identified in the POE and further suggested a more comprehensive approach to building furniture problems would be better. This individual also observed that the proposed stone pedestal seating would not be suitable. The anonymous member of the public expressed the view that Mr. Nichols' explanation of the Library's use of Prop. E (Library Preservation Fund) monies did not respond to Supervisor Yee's request. Mr. Ed Regan suggested that the Library hire four carpenters to make furniture for the Library and recommended that standing reading tables and high backed chairs be produced for use in the libraries. Ms. Chris Ortiz of the Council of Neighborhood Libraries expressed happiness that Prop. E monies would not be used, emphasizing that promises to the voters should be kept. Ms. Dorothy Danielson, North Beach Branch Library, also expressed happiness that those Prop. E funds would not be used, but expressed concern that problems could develop down the road if there was not a clarification of what was proper use of Prop. E (Library Preservation Fund) monies. She further urged that discussions about expending Prop. E funds should occur during the planning process, not after. Ms. Marti Kashuba, former member of the Council of Neighborhood Libraries, asked why the agenda item had been moved, expressed frustration that members of the public had to wait to hear this item. She also expressed concern that book money was being spent unwisely, observed that the library had never caught up from the 100,000 books discarded, and that the Library bought too many mysteries and not enough good books. Ms. Kashuba observed that the Library had only eight more years to rebuild the book collections, create top notch branch libraries, and inspire a love of reading. Ms. Kashuba concluded that Prop. E was for more books, hours, and staff. Ms. Margaret Coughlin, formerly of the Council of Neighborhood Libraries, emphasized that it was her understanding that Prop. E was only to be spent on branches, not on the Main Library. Mr. Jim Haas of Civic Pride reminded the Commission that, while the Main Library offered many specialized services, one of its chief functions was to serve as the branch library for over 100,000 residents of the South of Market, the Tenderloin, and Hayes Valley neighborhoods. Mr. Haas further pointed out that the Main Library served some of San Francisco's most vulnerable residents, functioning as a branch library serving the needs of 3 or 4 times the number of patrons other branches served. Mr. Haas expressed dismay at what he viewed as an effort by supporters of branch libraries serving middle class neighborhoods to reduce services to these low-income patrons. Mr. Haas urged that the Library include representatives of Main Library neighbors on the Council of Neighborhood Libraries so that their voice could be heard. Mr. Peter Warfield questioned the lack of clear links between the proposed projects and those identified in the POE (Post Occupancy Evaluation of the Main Library). Mr. Warfield expressed concern with accountability in expending Prop. E monies, decried a lack of clarity regarding whether the proposed projects were being funded by Prop. E (Library Preservation Fund) or Prop. A (Library Improvement Fund) monies as it appeared to him that they were being spent on everything except more books and hours. Mr. Warfield disagreed that the Main Library functioned as a branch library and expressed a belief that increases in books and hours were the priority for all Prop. E expenditures. Mr. Warfield did not find that repair of library tabletops was appropriate under either Prop. E or Prop. A. Ms. Deborah Doyle, Council of Neighborhood Libraries and Library BALIS representative, noted that more books and hours have been provided under Prop. E, that the Library was playing catch up for decades of deferred maintenance, that the overall improvement of the entire library system including both the Main and the branches was important, and that additional books and hours was a goal of the Library within the limitations of its budget. Ms. Sue Cauthen, Council of Neighborhood Libraries, commented favorably that Prop. E monies would not be used for these projects and offered the Commissioners copies of Prop. E election materials that highlighted support her view that Prop. E was solely intended for books and hours and not facilities maintenance or improvement. Ms. Cauthen observed that there were people who have a negative perception that Library was unable to manage its funds, and expressed concern that, with four new branches proposed to be built, there was no additional funding available for books for these new branches. Ms. Cauthen urged that there be a prudent reserve created to staff and provide books for these branches and that the Commission honor the spirit of Prop. E and only spend it on books and hours.
Agenda item #4 Commission comment on Supplemental Appropriation Request
Vice President Steiman noted that she had spoken with a number of people concerning this matter and read a statement in support of the supplemental appropriation from Ms. Karen Bevelander, a member of the Council of Neighborhood Libraries, (copy attached). Vice President Steiman then noted that she had attempted to explain the library's budget to some of those concerned about this proposal. She then discussed that fact that 76% of the Library's budget was spent on personnel and 10% on books for a total of 86% of the budget, an amount far greater than that portion of Prop. E (Library Preservation Fund) revenues derived from the property tax set aside. She noted that this meant that all of these funds were expended on books and hours. She pointed out that four of the new branches simply replaced existing branches that were already in the budget. Vice President Steiman acknowledged that there would need to be additional staffing for larger branch libraries and the new 27th branch library. She expressed a determination that new hours would be added for this new branch rather than any diminishing of hours at other branches. Commissioner Steiman discussed in some detail the various pressures of large fixed costs, 20 years of deferred maintenance, and increasing costs on the overall library budget. She decried what she saw as an artificial division between the Main Library and the branches. President Higueras inquired when the City Attorney's Office could make its formal opinion on Prop. E expenditures available and if it was the view of the Deputy City Attorney that the proposed supplemental appropriations request met the requirements of Prop. E, (Library Preservation Fund). Deputy City Attorney Adine Varah noted that the proposed supplemental appropriation no longer used any Prop. E Library Preservation Fund monies so that would not be an issue. Ms. Varah further responded that the City Attorney's office was working with Supervisor Yee in order to respond to his request for advice on this matter and that she would inform the Commission when it became available. President Higueras expressed a loss to understand any distinction between the Main Library and the branches. He observed that the library operated as a system, but understood concerns that the Main Library only receive its fair share of the budget. He noted that there had been no objections for spending money for maintenance at the branches and that the Main Library deserved to be properly maintained as well as a part of the system. In response to a question by President Higueras Mr. Nichols linked together those POE (Post Occupancy Evaluation of the Main Library) recommendations with proposed projects in the supplemental appropriation. Mr. Nichols proposed to provide an annotated list of POE related projects to accompany the supplemental appropriation request. President Higueras also requested information regarding how Prop. A (Library Improvement Bond) projects that is "bricks and mortar" improvements could be distinguished from other projects that would have to be funded from other sources such as private funds raised for FF&E (fixtures, furniture, and equipment) that are included in the Library Preservation Fund revenues available for these projects. Vice President Steiman cited the example of the eventual need to replace the 4th and 5th floor compact stacks as a good example of a POE related issue and a long term maintenance matter. President Higueras expressed his desire that there be as clear as possible a record to the Commission's response to the recommendations included in the POE. In answer to a question by Commission Bautista, Mr. Nichols explained that book budget dollars are budgeted across the board without a detailed breakout of how the budgeted funds are spent. Ms. Hildreth reported that staff then makes individual breakdown of the budget by branch and by department. Ms. Toni Bernardi, Chief of Children and Youth Services, described in extensive detail the process used to allocate the book budget so that each branch received detailed information on what monies for new books and materials they would receive. Commissioner Bautista suggested that each branch have a chart explaining how much money the branch was receiving from Prop. E. Commissioner Chin expressed a belief that people did not understand the budget and did not recognize that the Library was a system of the Main and branches that are funded based on the number of patrons that used each facility. Vice President Steiman noted that patron census was not the only criteria that should be used in measuring how resources should be allocated, but that the needs of the entire system must also be considered instead of taking a balkanizing approach. Commissioner Chin observed that Mr. Haas had raised an important point that the Main Library served the poor residents of the South of Market, Tenderloin, and Hayes Valley neighborhoods as their branch library.
MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Vice President Steiman that the supplemental appropriation request be approved with the understanding that details of the final projects be brought back to the Commission for its approval prior to their being undertaken.
Mr. Sowers and Mr. Nichols agreed to bring back the specific details of POE related issues, the tabletop repairs, and how to accommodate the seating in the Grove Street entrance. Commissioner Coulter expressed continuing concern with what was proposed for both tabletop repairs and for the Grove Street entrance. The Acting City Librarian made a firm commitment to address the Commissioners' concerns prior to undertaking any of the specific details of the projects. Commissioner Coulter lauded the members of the Neighborhood Council and other new members of the public who offered testimony to the Commission.
ACTION: 5-0 AYE (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, and Steiman)
Agenda Item #5BRANCH LIBRARY BOND UPDATE REPORT
Acting City Librarian Susan Hildreth gave an extensive overview of planning activities concerning the Prop. A Branch Library Construction and Improvement Bond. The Acting City Librarian outlined aspects of bond program management, bond personnel staff, and creation of an appropriate infrastructure within the Library to manage the bond program. She noted that advertising was underway for hiring of the Bond Program Manager. Ms. Hildreth mentioned the Board of Supervisors Finance Committee had held a hearing concerning management of the library bond. She reported a request by Supervisor Yee for regular quarterly reports on bond expenditures to be made to the Board of Supervisors and that the Library create a Bond Oversight Committee. Ms. Hildreth explained that the Library had planned to create such a Bond Oversight Committee and felt that it would help the Library mange the bond program. Library Finance Director George Nichols gave the Commissioners a detailed presentation on the proposed bond sales program outlining the proposed schedule and the various issues under consideration in meeting the cash flow needs in cycle with project completion schedule. Mr. Nichols reported that a model featuring annual bond sales was under consideration but that an alternative model that would call for 5 bond sales over the life of the bond program was also being reviewed. Mr. Nichols then discussed in some detail his efforts to set up an extensive reporting and fiscal controls process to maintain the highest degree of accountability for expenditure of all bond funds. President Higueras then discussed his efforts to prepare for the great challenge to carry out a very complex and demanding task over the ten years of the bond program. President Higueras called attention to this tremendous opportunity to catch up with neglected infrastructure needs and provide excellent facilities that will enable patrons and staff to have the highest levels of library services. President Higueras outlined how he proposed to take up the management of the bond program with careful and fully engaged oversight of every aspect of the bond activities. He emphasized that putting all necessary oversight systems into place early in this process, particularly the fiscal management systems, would be critical in keeping the commitment made to the voters when the Library requested support of this bond issue. President Higueras suggested that a special committee of the Commission and community advisory committee should be created to make sure that each project is a success rooted in strong oversight and significant community input. He observed that a critical concern is that these facilities be built or renovated in a manner that facilitates ease and economy of maintenance. Additionally, President Higueras observed that the best projects were those where the owners were actively involved in every aspect of the construction. President Higueras called for extensive availability of project information, perhaps on dedicated websites for each project, and through community outreach meetings during project duration.
Public Comment on Agenda Item #5Branch Library Bond Program Update Report
An anonymous member of the public commented that there would be bond sales in the spring and fact finding trips to Europe by the summer. This individual expressed support for learning lessons from past bond issues, and applauded Supervisor Yee's call for reports but questioned if anyone would pay attention to the facts they reported. The anonymous member of the public suggested that it was crucial that the Commission listen to its own reports, listen to members of the public, and take seriously differing perspectives. Mr. Ed Regan favored a committee on the bond and expressed support for each branch having three stories. Mr. Peter Warfield expressed agreement with Commission President that there was a big job ahead. He also agreed with the need for accountability and the importance of sustainable buildings. Mr. Warfield suggested that the Commission needed to be clear on how it keeps track of how it manages this program as it proceeds. He questioned how the Commission would make sure its goals would be met.
Commission Comment on Agenda Item #5 Brach Library Bond Update report
In response to questions by Vice President Steiman and Commissioner Bautista, Mr. Nichols explained in detail the complexities of the IRS requirements that the bond revenues be spent in a close cycle with the build out of the project to prevent the accumulation of excessive interest on bond funds during the course of construction of each particular phase of the bond program. Mr. Nichols noted that the Library would have either 24 or 36 months to spend down the funds on a project. The Acting City Librarian observed that getting a Project Manager would be a critical element of the team that the Library would put together to oversee the bond program.
Agenda Item #7 FRIENDS AND FOUNDATION REPORT
Mr. Paul Gormsen of the Friends and Foundation announced that the Annual Library Laureates Dinner with 30 authors would be held on April 2, 2001.
Commission comment on Agenda Item #7 FRIENDS AND FOUNDATION REPORT
In response to a question by Commissioner Bautista, the event details and ticket price of the Annual Library Laureates Dinner were described.
Agenda Item #8 LIBRARY LABOR UNION REPORT
Agenda Item #9 NEW BUSINESS
Commissioner Bautista requested a status report on the effort to acquire Brooks Hall for the Library. President Higueras inquired regarding the possibility of the Library issuing an Annual Report.
Public comment on Agenda Item #9 NEW BUSINESS
An anonymous member of the public expressed support for both proposed New Business items. This individual noted that the Annual Report was a pet issue of the anonymous member of the public observing that the City Charter required such reports and provided that such reports provided important information to the public on a year's activities. Mr. Ed Regan found both ideas very good. Mr. Peter Warfield agreed with all of the previous speakers in favor of the Annual Report.
Agenda item #10 PUBLIC COMMENT
An anonymous member of the public spoke about a "verandah factor" discussing the various forms of government, monarchy, aristocracy, oligarchy, plutocracy, and democracy. The anonymous member of the public expressed concern that government by the "good" would devolve into government for the good of the "good". This person felt that this process led to the denigration and defamation of those not in government and became self-perpetuating. Mr. Ed Regan requested expansion of Library public service hours and the purchase of more books.
Agenda Item #11- ADJOURNMENT
MOTION: by Commissioner Coulter, seconded by Commissioner Chin that the meeting be adjourned in memory of the late former Library Commissioner Edward Bransten and Mrs. Katherine Bransten.
Public comment on Agenda Item #11 ADJOURNMENT
An anonymous member of the public recalled Commissioner and Mrs. Bransten fondly and recounted several of his accomplishments and about the mutual devotion of Mr. Bransten and Mrs. Bransten who followed him in death by a mere nine days.
ACTION: AYE 5-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, and Steiman)
The meeting was adjourned at 8:09PM
Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 3/4/01
The number of members of the public who spoke anonymously at this meeting 1.