Library Commission Minutes - May 1, 2001
Minutes of the regular meeting of Tuesday, May 1, 2001 (As approved amended June 5, 2001).
The San Francisco Public Library Commission held its regular meeting on Tuesday, May 1, 2001 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.
The meeting was called to order at 4: 05PM by Vice President Steiman.
The following members were noted present: Vice President Steiman, and Commissioners Chin, Coulter, and Swig.
The Secretary noted Commissioners Bautista and Higueras were excused attendance.
Commissioner Streets joined the meeting at 4:09PM.
Vice President Steiman announced that Agenda item #4 Carnegie Branch Library Landmarking Report would be taken up out of order and then the rest of the agenda would follow as posted.
AGENDA ITEM #4 CARNEGIE BRANCH LIBRARY LANDMARKING REPORT
Commissioner Tim Kelly, President of the San Francisco Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board gave a very detailed presentation on the history and unique architectural features of the seven historic branch libraries, which were created through a $750,000 gift to the city from industrialist philanthropist Andrew Carnegie between 1914 and 1922. Commissioner Kelly then discussed in greater detail aspects of the various Carnegie Branch Libraries noting the construction dates of each. The President of the Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board noted that all were excellent examples of what he described as a then new kind of building purposefully built as a branch library. Commissioner Kelly noted that all of the proposed landmark structures fully met the three criteria for landmarking. He pointed out they were each unique individual structures. He observed they each exhibited special character and historical significance. And lastly, Commissioner Kelly reported each had architectural and aesthetic significance. Commissioner Kelly further commented that the landmarking process facilitated retaining buildings of historic character or significance, but still fully allowed for necessary modernization. The President of the Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board informed the Library Commissioners that once the branch libraries had been designated as landmarks the Library would be required to obtain a "Certificate of Appropriateness" from the Planning Department before undertaking significant work. He noted that upon such an application the Landmarks Board would consult with expert designers and conduct a public hearing prior to approving a Certificate. Mr. Kelly noted specifically that the this process applied only to "character defining" elements of these buildings, such as their exteriors, the Main Reading Room, and symbolic entrances, such as paneled vestibules and historic entry patterns. Commissioner Kelly suggested that landmarking the Carnegie Branch Libraries would still allow for their adaptation for contemporary uses of interior spaces of less significance such as former Children's Rooms. The President of the Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board suggested that the Landmarks Board would work as a cooperative partner with the library to develop goals and objectives for renovation of the Carnegie Branch Libraries.
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #4 CARNEGIE BRANCH LIBRARY LANDMARKING REPORT.
An anonymous member of the public recalled that many of these branch libraries were identified by number, noting that the South Park Branch lost after the 1906 Earthquake had been No. 2, and that the façade of the Park Branch still displayed its No.5 . The anonymous member of the public commented favorably on this proposal, but urged caution noting potential conflict between the need for disabled access and the concerns of history. This anonymous member of the public cited the Noe Valley and Golden Gate Valley Branches as having insufficient space for wheelchair ramps. This individual reported being enthralled by the proposed statement of goals, noting that the speaker was right about the significance of these issues to the Library. This individual then concluded with a quotation attributed to Andrew Carnegie. Mr. Ed Regan commented that he was 100% in support of this proposal and that his only concern that it did not go far enough in proposing preservation of all of the historic branches as the backbone of the education system. Mr. Peter Warfield noted that he was unclear on the issues involved and expressed regret that documents about this proposal had been unavailable prior to the meeting. Mr. Warfield requested that he be provided with a copy of the information in Commissioner Kelly's presentation and asked why these specific branches were chosen for landmark status. Mr. Warfield observed that there were other beautiful branch libraries worthy of landmarking and that it was unfortunate the old Main Library, a Carnegie Grant building, had been lost and pointed out that the Park Branch was not a Carnegie building.
Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #4 CARNEGIE BRANCH LIBRARY LANDMARKING REPORT.
Commissioner Coulter inquired concerning the challenges which landmark status might pose during the branch bond program renovations, citing the experience of the Mission and the Chinatown Branch projects as examples of good and bad situations. Commissioner Kelly responded by noting that the Richmond Branch had significant potential to be greatly expanded while maintaining the integrity of its historic fabric. He further discussed the Landmarks Board's positive experience with the renovation and expansion of the historic Laguna Honda Muni Station, noting that an entirely new but sympathetic structure had been constructed and joined with the historic building to make an improved whole. Commissioner Kelly then discussed various thoughts with the way in which seismic bracing had been installed in the Chinatown Branch and concerning the loss of the original staircase at the Mission Branch. Commissioner Coulter pointed out that landmarking would add an additional layer of process to that already required involvement of Art Commission and the Planning Department thus increasing the complexity of carrying out these projects. Vice President Steiman expressed strong support for preserving all of the historic libraries but noted that a major concern of the Commission must be how well these buildings functioned as working libraries for patrons and staff. Vice President Steiman observed that it was imperative that everything be done to maximize the value of every bond dollar spent. Commissioner Kelly responded that the landmarking process was designed to address concerns about modernization and accessibility in historic buildings. He further noted that landmarking these buildings made available the assistance of the Landmarks Preservation Board experts as well as the advice and assistance of the preservationist community in renovating the branch libraries. Mr. Kelly noted that while this landmarking proposal was specifically focused on the Carnegie Branch Libraries there were other branch libraries worthy of consideration to be landmarked.
Commissioner Steiman noted that these buildings must be usable as libraries not library museums . In response to questions by Commissioner Chin, President Kelly discussed how these buildings would be included on California's list of historic properties, reporting an existing thematic nomination of all California's existing Carnegie Libraries, and responded to her comments concerning the Sunset and Chinatown Branches. Commission Chin raised the important question of which Commission would have the final authority to make decisions regarding the branch library buildings. She specifically recalled that there was a need to take demographic and use issues seriously recalling that at one time there was serious consideration of completely replacing the old North Beach/Chinatown Branch Library building with a larger structure. Commissioner Kelly responded by noting that the landmarking process provided a formalized way to address these issues, commenting that if an historic structure were totally destroyed there were procedures in place to remove it from the landmarks registry.
In response to comments by Commissioner Streets regarding potential additional complications for the branch bond program if the Carnegie's were landmarked the City Librarian responded that library staff was prepared to work with the Landmarks Board to address concerns regarding the need to make changes in some of the interior spaces of some of the Carnegie branches. Ms. Hildreth acknowledged that while this process might help address some concerns about preserving the buildings it could add additional time and expense for some of the projects. In response to a question by Commissioner Chin, Commissioner Kelly conceded that there was no financial advantage to be gained for public buildings to be landmarked. Vice President Steiman noted that this could potentially create a situation where the Library Commission had responsibility for operating the libraries without the authority to make decisions on how they could best be renovated.
Ms. Hildreth reported that President Higueras had been in close contact with Commissioner Kelly concerning this proposal, encouraging of the process, but with appropriate caution concerning the potential for additional expense. Commission Swig expressed support for the concept but inquired regarding the process that would be necessary to accomplish it. Commissioner Kelly then outlined in some detail the process used by the Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board, the Planning Department, and the Board of Supervisors to designate landmarks. In answer to a question by Commissioner Chin regarding who might oppose the proposal, Ms. Hildreth noted that the Mayor's Office of Disabilities had mademaking the buildings fully accessible for the disabled a high priority. She further noted that the Library Commission had emphasized the high importance that the functionality of the buildings as working libraries. The City Librarian then discussed some of areas of concern with making needed ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) improvements to Carnegie branches with limited interior space such as Golden Gate Valley. Vice President Steiman suggested that perhaps there should be a formal statement from the Commission to the Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board expressing its concerns with the landmarking of the Carnegie Branch Libraries.
AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF MARCH 6, 2001 REGULAR COMMISSION MEETING
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF MARCH 6, 2001 REGULAR COMMISSION MEETING
An anonymous member of the public cited Sec. 67.2-92 and other sections of the Sunshine Ordinance as requiring that public comment summary statements submitted as part of the Minutes be posted on the Library's website with the Minutes. The anonymous member of the public noted that previously public comment summary statements made available by email had been included with the Minutes on the library website. This individual chose not to continue to make these statements available when other public comment summary statements (provided in non-electronic format) were not included on the website. Mr. Ed Regan found his comments accurately reported, but requested that a page 5 comment on book collections be amended to specifically refer to non-fiction books. Mr. Peter Warfield noted the absence of public comment summary statements in some copies of the Minutes although all copies had the cover page for Appendix A Public Comment Summary statement, commented on the absence of public comment summary statements on the copies of the Minutes posted on the website, and observed that there should be a notice posted on the website calling attention to the fact that other copies of the Minutes contained public comment summary statements. Mr. Warfield suggested revisions to a page 3 discussion of comments attributed to him regarding the concept of a bond manager to oversee all aspects of a bond as was discussed at a CALTAC meeting that he had attended.
Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE MARCH 6, 2001 REGULAR COMMISSION MEETING
In response to a question by Commissioner Coulter, the Secretary explained why the mailed out copies of the Minutes lacked some public comment summary statements. The Secretary further explained why public comment summary statements were not being posted on the library website. In response to a question by Vice President Steiman, Deputy City Attorney Adine Varah reported that the Library had informed the City Attorney's Office that due to technical and resource limitations it was not possible for the Library to scan in every document received in a non-electronic format and then post such documents on the web. The Deputy City Attorney further noted that her office had advised the Library that the provisions of the Sunshine Ordinance required that such documents be posted on the Library's website "to the extent possible". In response to a query by Vice President Steiman, the Commission Secretary reported that no time limit had been set for the submission of public comment summary statements. He observed that when the Commission acted to approve a set of Minutes, that act completed those Minutes, subject only to a specific future motion to revise them.
MOTION: by Commissioner Chin, seconded by Commissioner Coulter for approval of the Minutes.
ACTION: AYE 5-0 (Chin, Coulter, Steiman, Streets, and Swig)
AGENDA ITEM #2 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE MARCH 15, 2001 SPECIAL COMMISSION MEETING
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #2 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE MARCH 15, 2001 SPECIAL COMMISSION MEETING
An anonymous member of the public called attention to mistakes in the footnotes referring to draft minutes and the number of members of the public who spoke at that meeting. Additionally this individual called attention to page 3 remarks that this person found summarized in a manner which was less colorful than what was actually said. Further, the anonymous member of the public called attention to page 4 comments by President Higueras that should have been highlighted in bold type. Mr. Ed Regan found his remarks accurately reported. Mr. Peter Warfield commented that all colorful comments should be reported as spoken. Then Mr. Warfield called attention to a page 3 description which he found to be editorializing and inaccurate in describing the strategic planning community and staff input and meeting process discussed in the City Librarian's Report as lengthy. Mr. Warfield noted that he felt that there had not been sufficient public input on the strategic plan. Mr. Warfield suggested that he had said that ending the City Librarian search process "might" taint whomever was selected and "might" raise questions about the selection process. Mr. Warfield noted that a Page 4 comment attributed to him simply asked if the copies of the strategic plan provided to the Commission were the same as those provided to members of the public. Mr. Warfield questioned the reporting of who had initiated the meting between the Mayor and the President and Vice President concerning the nomination of Ms. Hildreth to be City Librarian.
Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #2 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE MARCH 15, 2001 SPECIAL COMMISSION MEETING
Vice President Steiman observed that the strategic plan staff and community input gathering and meeting process had indeed been lengthy.
MOTION: by Commissioner Chin, seconded by Commissioner Swig for approval of the Minutes of March 15, 2001.
ACTION: AYE 5-0 (Chin, Coulter, Steiman, Streets, and Swig)
AGENDA ITEM #3 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES Of THE APRIL 3, 2001 REGULAR COMMISSION MEETING.
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #3 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE APRIL 3, 2001 REGULAR COMMISSION MEETING
An anonymous member of the public commented that this individual had made comments at the April 3rd meeting which accused the President of the Commission of lying or of contradicting sworn testimony by the Commission given in a lawsuit filed by this individual concerning the selection of Regina Minudri to be City Librarian and found that the report of these remarks were both misleading and insufficiently informative regarding the substance of the controversy and its importance or of the point attempting to be made. Additionally, this individual noted that later in the discussion Vice President Steiman contradicted this individual's remarks by belittling the controversy and that the Commission had lost all creditability by not disproving their accuracy. Mr. Ed Regan found that his comments were accurately reported in these Minutes. Mr. Peter Warfield expressed appreciation for the Vice President's acceptance of corrections to his remarks in previous meeting minutes. Mr. Warfield called attention to page 4 remarks attributed to him regarding his comments on City Librarian's report discussion of library literature on the efficacy of fines in recovering Library materials and restated his view that the literature cited objectively proved that a no fine policy was more effective in recovering materials. Mr. Warfield finally requested that his comment on page 6 be changed to specifically refer to the purpose of the study rather than simply change.
Commissioner Swig noted a mistake in reporting both herself and President Higueras as voting on a page 2 item and requested that the notation be corrected as they were not present at the April 3rd meeting.
MOTION: by Commissioner Coulter, seconded by Commissioner Chin for approval of the Minutes of April 3, 2001 as amended.
ACTION: AYE 5-0 (Chin, Coulter, Steiman, Streets, and Swig)
AGENDA ITEM #4 CITY LIBRARIAN'S REPORT
The City Librarian updated the Commissioners on the Fine and Fee Schedule recently approved by the Board of Supervisors noting that it would become effective on May 7th. Ms. Hildreth then discussed the discussions during the Board of Supervisors Finance Committee's approval of the supplemental appropriation for Main Library improvements. She noted that changes in this legislation from the request approved by the Library Commission included a reduced project reserve, and reserve funding for the audio visual and signage consultants at the request of the Budget Analyst and Supervisors. The City Librarian also informed the Commissioners that the Finance Committee had placed on Reserve the request for $230,000 for the radio repeater system pending receiving information verifying the project's costs from the Department of Technology and Information Services (DTIS). The City Librarian noted that review and re-evaluation of these projects could mean that the Library might have to go back to the Board of Supervisors and request additional funds to complete these projects. She reported that the Library had committed to the Finance Committee to complete all of the proposed projects. Ms. Hildreth noted that the supplemental request would have its first reading at the Board of Supervisors the following Monday.
Ms. Hildreth next reported that she proposed to bring recommendations from the staff working groups on changes in the first floor of the Main Library to the Commission for its consideration in June or July. Ms. Hildreth then outlined in some detail the ongoing branch site selection community meetings being held to discuss the selection of potential sites for replacements for the four branch libraries currently in rented facilities. The City Librarian reported that the process so far had narrowed the number of sites under consideration from 6 or 7 to 2 or 3 for each site. The City Librarian recommended that the Commission consider holding a special meeting to gather additional community input and discuss Commissioner's concerns with final site selections. Ms. Hildreth noted that the Library would make every effort to widely notify all those concerned about this special meeting and actively seek additional comment on these recommendations.
Ms. Hildreth reported on a series of "focus group" meetings held to discuss the ongoing branch facilities plan. The City Librarian reported that summaries of these focus groups discussions would be included in the final report. The City Librarian then discussed plans for surveys to be conducted in the branches later in the month. Ms. Hildreth expressed a hope that these surveys would engage public interest in helping to make choices concerning what kinds of facilities and new services they would like to see in their branch library. The City Librarian announced that there would be an additional group of neighborhood meetings on branch renovations to be held on May 21st at the Excelsior Branch, May 22nd at the Marina Branch, May 24th at the Richmond Branch, May 30th at the Bayview Branch, May 30th at the Parkside Branch, and finally June 4th at the Eureka Valley branch. Ms. Hildreth reported that the Library had been successful in placing ads for these meetings in a large number of neighborhood newspapers and that each meeting would address library services issues in two Supervisorial Districts at each meeting.
Ms. Hildreth next reported to the Commissioners concerning the California Library Associations' "Library Legislative Day in Sacramento" noting efforts for legislation such as SB 94 providing additional library funding and opposition to AB151 which would mandate internet filtering based on the model created by the federal Children's Internet Protection Act. She then reported on her visit to Washington, DC to participate in Federal Legislation Day with San Francisco's representatives in Congress. She noted that these discussions focused on efforts to expand the Library Technology Services Program and to oppose the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) efforts to mandate filtering library computers or face loss of federal library funding.
Public comment on Agenda Item #43 CITY LIBRARIAN'S REPORT:
An anonymous member of the public expressed concern with the library's use of focus groups to obtain information concerning branch library services the public might want. The anonymous member of the public then discussed Supervisor Yee's request for a City Attorney's Opinion concerning the proper use of Prop. E (Library Preservation Fund) moneys. This person remarked that the opinion provided by the City Attorney was addressed to the City Librarian and sidestepped responding to Supervisor Yee. This individual noted that of three elements in Prop. E, this opinion only addressed one. Mr. Ed Regan reported that he had been unable to find the branch library site selection meetings and requested that mailed notices be sent out to those expressing interest in attending. Mr. Peter Warfield agreed there was a need for more notice for these meetings and noted that he was unclear regarding what new services were being proposed. Mr. Warfield questioned the use of focus groups asking what questions asked, what objectives were discussed, and how the questions were pursued. Mr. Warfield noted that several of the items included in the supplemental appropriations request were not related to the POE.
Commission comment on Agenda Item #4 CITY LIBRARIAN'S REPORT
Vice President Steiman reported that the site selection community meetings she had attended were very lively and well attended as well as being very productive. Commissioner Chin expressed satisfaction that library staff was making special efforts to reach out to those who don't or cannot attend meetings. She particularly applauded the effort to focus on getting the views of those not normally heard.
Vice President Steiman called for a brief recess of the meeting at 5:41PM.
The Commission returned to session at 5:50PM.
AGENDA ITEM #6 LIBRARY FEE AMNESTY
City Librarian Susan Hildreth informed the Commissioners concerning the background of Supervisor Leland Yee's Library Fee Amnesty legislation. She noted that it had been viewed as a companion measure to the materials recovery program, but that the Board of Supervisors had eliminated the materials recovery program from the Fine and Fee Schedule which they approved. Ms. Hildreth announced that if the Commission agreed the Fine Amnesty would be held during June 1 -15, 2001. The City Librarian noted that the previous Fine Amnesty in March of 1998 had not been particularly successful in retrieving materials that were long overdue and that even greater publicity and outreach efforts would be made to try and make this over due book amnesty more successful. Ms. Hildreth then introduced Marcia Schneider, Library Director of Public Affairs who gave a detailed presentation on the extensive community outreach effort planned for the Overdue Book Amnesty. Ms. Schneider reported that the Library would undertake a bigger effort with greater outreach than previously done and noted that any input on how to make the publicity more effective would be welcomed. Ms. Schneider informed the Commissioners concerning the press releases, various planned activities, public service announcements, including announcements on the Muni electronic information boards, inclusion in calendar listings, notices in the neighborhood newspapers and newsletters, a prominent feature in At the Public Library, and a poster campaign featuring art work by Phil Frank urging patrons to " SHARE THE THRILL, RETURN THE BOOKS". The Director of Public Affairs next discussed various activities with awards to encourage the return of the longest overdue book, having the best excuse for not having returned a book, and the longest distance from which a book was returned. Ms. Schneider reported that staff would chart the various kinds of materials returned to measure progress during the amnesty and to have an accurate measure of how effectively the amnesty worked.
The Director of Public Affairs promised outreach to all levels of educational institutions from colleges and universities to the San Francisco Unified School District and to private and parochial schools. She proposed announcements at Library public events, postings at every library, and a wide distribution of the poster with art work donated by Phil Frank, creator of "Farley". Ms. Schneider noted that Supervisor Leland Yee had offered to help publicize the Overdue Book Amnesty his legislation authorized and that the San Francisco Independent newspaper might offer a prize. The Director of Public Affairs also reported efforts to gain the assistance of the Council of Neighborhood Libraries the Friends and Foundation, and the Library Commission in publicizing the Overdue Book Amnesty. The City Librarian requested that the Commission act to approve the proposed dates for The Overdue Book Amnesty.
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #6 FEE AMNESTY
An anonymous member of the public commented that this individual was disappointed to learn that the last fine amnesty had not been a success as City Librarian Regina Minudri had lauded it as a great success. This person observed that the previous fine amnesty had been confused by a double message by the inclusion of a food drive as part of the effort. The anonymous member of the public commented further that past fee amnesty's had been tied to the appointment of a new City Librarian an unpredictable event which occurred infrequently where as the last amnesty was merely three years ago and might send a message encouraging people to keep overdue materials for the next amnesty. This individual noted that owing the library money keeps patrons away, but too frequent fee amnesties may cause problems too. Mr. Ed Regan called for abolishing all library fines and recommended that a list be complied of all overdue, weeded, or stolen books. Mr. Peter Warfield suggested sending letters to all patrons with overdue items informing them of the amnesty, commented on varying reports on the success of the previous amnesty, and asked how the library planned to measure the success of this amnesty. Mr. Warfield observed that a single purpose amnesty could be more successful and expressed uneasiness about offering prizes as part of the amnesty. He noted that emphasis should be made that the Library shares its materials and patrons should be educated to bring back books so that others can check them out. Mr. Warfield noted that a union rep. had suggested a slogan such as "Got Books?" similar to the popular "Got Milk" campaign.
Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #6 LIBRARY FEE AMNESTY
Commissioner Coulter congratulated Ms. Schneider for the extensive publicity efforts proposed and inquired as to how the Phil Frank art work was proposed to be used. In response to further questions by Commissioner Coulter, Ms. Schneider outlined how the Library proposed to measure the success of this amnesty, commented on the quality of existing records of what is missing, spoke about data made available by the Automation Department, and reported that there was no break down of information on materials checked out by students and children.
Commissioner Swig suggested that notice of the amnesty be provided to movie theatres for inclusion in public service announcements. Vice President Steiman observed that there might be copyright issues with slogans such as "weakest link" or "Got Books". Deputy City Attorney Adine Varah pointed out that it might be possible to contact the owner of the intellectual property rights in a particular slogan and obtain permission to use it for the Library. Commissioner Chin expressed some discomfort with offering rewards for returning materials noting that this should be an occasion for a lesson in responsibility.
MOTION: by Commissioner Coulter, seconded by Commissioner Chin that as authorized by the Board of Supervisors the Library hold an Overdue Book Amnesty during the period June 1 through June 15, 2001 to encourage the return of overdue materials.
ACTION: AYE 5-0 (Chin, Coulter, Steiman, Streets, and Swig)
Agenda Item #7 LIBRARY BUDGET UPDATE REPORT
Library Finance Director, George Nichols provided the Commissioners with an extensive overview of the current status of the Library's FY 2001/2202 Budget. In particular Mr. Nichols outlined the budgetary challenges facing the city in the coming year while noting that Prop. E (Library Preservation Fund) protected the Library from the baseline budget cuts that could be required of other city departments. Mr. Nichols then gave an overview of the schedule of budget related activities for the remainder of the fiscal year. The Library Finance Director reported on a series of community budget hearings that were being conducted in neighborhoods across the city by the Board of Supervisors in preparation of their receiving the Mayor's Budget proposal at the beginning of June.
Mr. Nichols next discussed several changes that had been made in the Library's Budget since its approval by the Library Commission. The Library's Finance Director informed the Commissioners that the Mayor had, despite the clear wish of the Commission, placed the $173,000 in funding for the Tool Lending Center in the Library's budget allocation. In addition Mr. Nichols reported on a $1.1 million cost related to the branch library telephone system. He indicated that although this was $600,000 greater than the initial estimate provided by DTIS, replacing the branch telephone system was necessary to improve public service and operational efficiency. Mr. Nichols explained that the current phone system was dysfunctional and that the new system would make of the library's phone systems compatible. Mr. Nichols further noted that this upgrade would be fully compatible with changes that are sure to occur during the branch library construction and improvement bond program. The Library Finance Director also discussed how the new phone system would be installed in phases with the hub of the network being installed in the Main Library and systems at the Chinatown, Mission, and Sunset branches, then in groups of eight branches per year at a cost of $247,000. Mr. Nichols reported that the overall budget was $668,000 greater than the budget the Commission approved in January. Mr. Nichols noted the Tool Lending Center costs, the branch library telephone system increased costs and then detailed the addition of $165,000 to fund work orders from other departments that the Library had to pay.
Focusing on revenues Mr. Nichols informed the Commissioners of an additional $1.1 million in Prop. E baseline funds that the Controller had identified as due the Library in the current fiscal year which would roll over into next year's budget. He explained that this revenue mitigated the need for an allocation from the Library Preservation Fund reserve that was programmed to support the proposed budget. The Library Finance Director then discussed three POE related capital projects anticipated to be funded with $2.1 million from the Library Improvement Fund (Prop. A 1988). The improved signage program, improvements to the first floor Borrower's Services area, and improvements to the second floor including a possible bridge to the Children's Center. Mr. Nichols noted that these funds were included in the proposed budget for planning purposes, but that the Commission's review and approval would be necessary before any project went forward. Mr. Nichols concluded his report by explaining some of the materials that he had provided to the Commissioners reporting increases in spending in the book budget and again noting that 85% of the Library's budget was expended on staffing and materials.
Public comment on Agenda Item #7 LIBRARY BUDGET UPDATE REPORT
An anonymous member of the public reserved comment on the technical aspects of the report but observed that it appeared that despite the Commission's decision not to fund the Tool Lending Center with Library funds that it would bear watching to see if that were true. Ms. Sue Cauthen, Council of Neighborhood Libraries, expressed concern with how Prop. E moneys are expended and with the description of the Main Library as serving as a branch library. Ms. Cauthen discussed her involvement with the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods, which she described as a coalition of 35 neighborhood organizations that had adopted a resolution and sent it to the Library echoed her concerns on these issues. Ms. Cauthen noted that the City Attorney had issued an opinion that stated that Prop. E (Library Preservation Fund) allowed such expenditures on the Main Library but expressed a wish that the Commissioners think very carefully before doing so. Ms. Cauthen then cited reported opposition to such use of Prop. E funds and any consideration of the Main Library as a branch. Mr. Peter Warfield noted that the budget materials had not been available prior to the meeting, and could not find any reconciliation of its figures with those in the budget that the Commission had adopted. Mr. Warfield expressed concern with the increases in the costs of the branch library telephone system and could find no connection to any increase in patron service. Mr. Warfield commented that the book budget at 9% of the budget was still below a previously cited figure of 15% as what was desired. Mr. Warfield found that the Library was very good at spending on everything but books and additional open hours. Mr. Warfield cited figures indicating that the book budget only now matched its funding in 1996-97.
Commission comment on Agenda Item #7 LIBRARY BUDGET UPDATE REPORT
Vice President Steiman explained that special one-time circumstance which didn't allow the library to make hires in the first year of Prop. E (Library Preservation Fund) spending in 1995-96 allowed for a massive increase in spending for books and materials. Vice President Steiman noted preference for a book budget in the range of 12 to 15% if funding allowed. In response to questions by Commissioner Chin, the City Librarian explained how the improvements in the branch telephone system would allow improvements in public service.
Commissioner Swig left the meeting at 6:35PM.
In response to a comment by Commissioner Coulter regarding how other libraries measured per capita spending on books and materials that should take into account San Francisco's very high labor costs, the City Librarian noted that our labor costs were the highest in the state. She proposed to review the figures and inform the Commission concerning a more accurate reflection of what percentage of budget was dedicated to books and materials.
Agenda item #8 FRIENDS AND FOUNDATION REPORT
Mr. Chuck Forester, Executive Director of the Friends and Foundation reported to the Commission concerning a special program by Thomas Kitteridge, a noted environmental author held the previous Monday. Mr. Forester then discussed programs offered by the Hormel Gay and Lesbian Center on transgender issues in a series of weekly programs during May. Mr. Forester next reported on the great opening success of the Book Bay at the Main, noting sales of $8,500 in its first week. Mr. Forester then described efforts by the Friends and Foundation to support the High School and Beyond Program to replace the initial grant funding that operated this valuable program. Mr. Forester noted that the Friends and Foundation during May sponsored 25 programs and two exhibits.
Agenda Item #9 LIBRARY LABOR UNION REPORT
Agenda item #10 NEW BUSINESS
Commissioner Chin requested a preview of the highlights of the upcoming American Library Association Annual meeting being held in San Francisco in June. Commissioner Chin also requested that a discussion be calendared at the Commission on ways in which the Library and the school district can cooperate in promoting teen literacy. Commissioner Chin also requested a report be calendared on the plans for promoting teen involvement in the Library's Summer reading program.
Public comment on Agenda item #10 NEW BUSINESS
An anonymous member of the public expressed interest in Commissioner Chin's comments observing that teenagers' faced a great deal of pressure, now even greater than before. This anonymous member of the public cited the library as one place where learning occurs without pressure and that anything that encourages that is important. This person also reminded the Commissioners of President Higueras' suggestion for a retreat on the Library's Strategic Plan. Mr. Ed Regan commented that every branch library should include a Labor Library, containing the full spectrum of information available to teens seeking employment. Mr. Regan cited draftsman as a position for which teenagers might be qualified.
Agenda item #11 PUBLIC COMMENT
An anonymous member of the public noted that April had been observed as National Poetry month and that this individual had planned a related comment that would be offered now. The anonymous member of the public emphasized that this was what libraries were all about, that each book in the library represented an individual's sacrifice and achievements in a life's work. This person noted that the act of creation had been likened to procreation, citing poets from Shakespeare and Whitman to Andrew Marvell. The anonymous member of the public concluded with an extensive quotation from Gerard Manley Hopkins "To R.B.". Mr. Ed Regan requested that the Library inspect all of its book collections to insure that there was uniformity in the non-fiction collections at the Main and in the branches. Mr. Peter Warfield commented on what he described as a stir in the Library world concerning a movement to retain original documents, books and newspapers instead of just microfilms. Mr. Warfield inquired concerning what the branch library planning process is doing to provide for more space for books and materials. Mr. Warfield noted that there had been reports of funding for branch planning but that he had heard nothing where the plans stood in regard to space for books and materials. Mr. Warfield requested that the Commission schedule an extensive discussion of these issues.
Agenda Item #12 ADJOURNMENT
MOTION: by Commissioner Streets, seconded by Commissioner Chin that the meeting be adjourned.
ACTION: AYE 4-0 (Chin, Coulter, Steiman, and Streets)
The meeting was adjourned at 7:04PM.
Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 6/8/01
Please note: Copies of Commission Minutes and handouts are available in the Office of the Commission Secretary, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
The number of members of the public who spoke anonymously at this meeting. 1