Library Commission Minutes - June 5, 2001
Minutes of the regular meeting of Tuesday, June 5, 2001 (As approved July 3, 2001).
The San Francisco Public Library Commission held its regular meeting on Tuesday, June 5, 2001 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.
The meeting was called to order at 4:05 PM by President Higueras.
The following members were noted present: President Higueras, Vice President Steiman, and Commissioners Bautista and Coulter.
The Secretary noted Commissioners Streets and Swig were excused attendance and that Commissioner Chin's arrival might be delayed.
AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF MAY 1, 2001 REGULAR COMMISSION MEETING
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF MAY 1, 2001 REGULAR COMMISSION MEETING
An anonymous member of the public commented on the lack of inclusion of public comment summaries in the Minutes posted on the Library's website and commented on related Sunshine Ordinance issues. The anonymous member of the public found the lack of technical capacity to post public comment summaries inconsistent with the Library's emphasis on technology. Mr. Ed Regan found his comments accurately reported but requested a change in a page two reference to "library" system to "education" system. Mr. Peter Warfield opposed approval of the Minutes citing several instances were his comments and those of others were not fully reported. In particular, Mr. Warfield noted his question as to why these libraries were chosen to be landmarked instead of others and called attention to his comment that there were many beautiful library buildings besides these deserving of landmark status. Mr. Warfield also cited comments attributed to Landmarks Commission President Tim Kelly that answered his question and agreed with his assessment that there were many other libraries worthy of landmark status.
Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE MAY 1, 2001 REGULAR COMMISSION MEETING
Vice President Steiman corrected a comment attributed to her, noting that the renovated branch libraries needed to function as working libraries rather than library museums. Commissioner Coulter suggested amending the Minutes to reflect comments by Mr. Regan and Mr. Warfield.
MOTION: by Commissioner Steiman, seconded by Commissioner Coulter for approval of the Minutes as amended.
ACTION: AYE 4-0 (Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, and Steiman)
AGENDA ITEM #2 CITY LIBRARIAN'S REPORT
City Librarian Susan Hildreth reported to the Commissioners on the successful opening ceremonies for the relocated Ingleside Branch Library. The City Librarian outlined on-going branch library improvements projects at the Anza, West Portal, and Bayview-Waden Branches. Ms. Hildreth then called attention to the installation of burglar alarms at the Noe Valley and Sunset Branch Libraries.
The City Librarian next briefed the Commissioners concerning additions to the Library's FY 2001-2002 Budget that had been proposed by the Mayor's Budget Office. Ms. Hildreth reported the proposed budget increase to be $320,000, including an additional $98,000 for the book budget and $220,000 to go forward with the new branch library telephone system. The City Librarian noted that these additional funds would allow complete installation of the new telephone network in three years instead of four as originally planned. The City librarian informed the Commissioners that the Library would begin discussions with the Board of Supervisor's Budget Analyst to defend the proposed budget during the next two weeks. Ms. Hildreth informed the Commissioners that the Library Budget was scheduled to be heard at the Board of Supervisor Finance Committee on June 21st , and again for a final review on June 28th.
Ms. Hildreth next discussed the series of Neighborhood Budget meetings called by the Board of Supervisors to gather public comment on the proposed city budget. Ms. Hildreth noted that the Library had been represented at these meeting and had heard the comments and suggestions made by members of the public. Ms. Hildreth then reported on the conclusion of the branch survey. The City Librarian that the latest series of branch library community meetings had concluded on June 4th at the Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Branch.
Ms. Hildreth then presented an extensive overview of activities designed to promote the return of overdue library materials during the June 1 through 15th Amnesty. The City Librarian discussed the extensive outreach efforts, inclusion of notices inserted in all outgoing overdue and reserve notices, special outreach to local schools, colleges, and universities, a 12,000 post card mail out to all patrons having overdues during the past year, and also including posters and flyers featuring cartoon artwork donated by Phil Frank, creator of the Farley comic strip in the San Francisco Chronicle. Ms. Hildreth announced a special poster-signing event to be held at the Main Library on June 8th from 2 to 4PM featuring Mr. Frank and as a special guest "Brun Hilda" Matriarch of the Bear Clan would also sign posters.
Ms. Hildreth next informed the Commissioner s of the schedule to publish final regulations and begin acceptance of applications for Prop. 14 (State Library Construction and Improvement Bond) monies. Ms. Hildreth noted that final comments on the proposed regulations would be accepted until June 15th and that it was expected the Bond Board would adopt the regulations at its June 25th meeting. The City Librarian suggested that it was likely that it would take at least three months to certify the regulations and that they should be in place at the earliest by October of this year. She explained that it was then likely that six months later, in March 2002, that the first group of applications for funding would be accepted.
The City Librarian then announced that Muni had informed the Library that they would restore the No. 19 Polk Street bus stop at the Larkin Street entrance of the Main Library. Ms. Hildreth noted that there would be a public hearing on the proposed restoration of the stop on July 11th from 5:30 to 7:30PM to accept public comment regarding the change.
The City Librarian next discussed activities to be held in conjunction with the American Library Association's Annual meeting being held in San Francisco during June 15th - 18th, 2001. Ms. Hildreth reported that the Library was taking a very active role as host library and that many volunteers were recruited and that in response to the labor boycott of the Marriott Hotel, some venues, including the popular ALA Scholarship Bash had been relocated to other hotels and sites. She called attention to the scheduling information available to locate the changed locations.
Finally the City Librarian reported on a matter which had come to her attention after the meeting agenda had been posted and announced that President Higueras had requested that Vice President Steiman serve as the Commission's liaison to the Council of Neighborhood Libraries.
Public comment on Agenda Item #2 CITY LIBRARIAN'S REPORT:
An anonymous member of the public observed that the three branch library neighborhood planning meetings this individual attended had attracted very few people. The anonymous member of the public commented that these meetings had been held after branch closing times and that the building's signs had indicated that the branches were closed; perhaps discouraging attendance. This person found that the topics of the meetings made little reference to planning issues and expressed a wish that more concrete discussions had been held. Mr. Ed Regan expressed happiness with the announcement of the overdue books amnesty, expressed concern regarding the installation of burglar alarms in the branches, and requested creation of a list of all lost, stolen, and overdue materials which would be made available to the public. Mr. Peter Warfield commented favorably on Muni's decision to restore the No. 19 Polk Street Line bus stop but questioned why Muni had decided that it would hold a hearing on the issue. Mr. Warfield requested information on the amounts of materials losses at the branches proposed for improved security. He observed that the (book theft detection) devices were noisy and disturbed the peaceful environment for patrons. Mr. Warfield complained that the advertising for the branch library neighborhood meetings failed to link them to discussion of the (Prop. A, Branch Library Construction and Improvement Bond - 2000) branch bond program. Mr. Warfield also expressed his view that these meetings did not focus on books or providing more space for books in the branch libraries and that they lacked clear objectives.
Commission comment on Agenda Item #2 CITY LIBRARIAN'S REPORT
Vice President Steiman, thanked Deborah Doyle for calling the Library's attention to the loss of the No. 19 Polk Street Line bus stop and for her efforts to get it restored to better serve senior and disabled patrons. In response to a query by President Higueras, Roberto Esteves, Library Chief of Information and Resource Management, reported that staff had a very good idea of the amounts of materials that were missing, particularly those items which had fallen out of the system. In answer to other questions by President Higueras, the City Librarian reported that the neighborhood branch library community meetings were but one element of an extensive outreach plan which included use of focus groups and branch surveys. Ms. Hildreth noted that they would be many opportunities for future public input as the bond program moved forward. She further observed that many neighborhood patrons had expressed interest in having rest rooms renovated and with the addition of computer rooms. Commissioner Bautista expressed concern about security in the branches. She also urged that a dialogue be fostered between librarians and patrons concerning how resources could be allocated. Commissioner Bautista noted that the furniture at the Parkside Branch was too old and should be upgraded. Commissioner Bautista further suggested that improvements be made in the number and location of express check-out machines, citing problems at the Mission Branch. She also recommended consideration of providing separate bins for each type of materials so that patrons could do the first sort of returned items saving staff time. Commissioner Bautista observed that patron convenience should be a first and foremost concern.
AGENDA ITEM #3 BRANCH LIBRARY BOND UPDATE
City Librarian Susan Hildreth introduced Ms. Marilyn Thompson, the newly selected Project Manager for the Branch Library Bond program. Ms. Thompson commented that she was honored and excited that she had been chosen to oversee this critically important project. Ms. Thompson noted that the bond program provides an opportunity to give San Francisco the best possible libraries in every neighborhood.
The City Librarian then described the ongoing discussions with Commissioner Tim Kelly, President of the Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board concerning landmarking the Carnegie Grant branch libraries. Ms. Hildreth observed that the library was committed to preserving these important branch libraries and that the discussions with Commissioner Kelly had been productive and cooperative. She reported that it was likely that the Landmarks Board would begin the formal landmarking process for the already renovated Mission and Chinatown Branch Libraries at its upcoming June 20th meeting. The City Librarian further reported that discussions would continue concerning long-term plans for landmarking the remaining Carnegie Branch Libraries. President Higueras noted that the new Project Manager would be working closely with staff to gather the basic documents and needed information to begin active engagement in branch bond program activities during the next 100 days. President Higueras observed that there would be an intensification of branch bond related activities in the coming months.
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #2 BRANCH LIBRARY BOND UPDATE
An anonymous member of the public commented that there did seem to be a great deal of activities going on behind the scenes and recalled that while there had been discussion of bond planning funding two months ago little had been heard since. The anonymous member of the public expressed concern with the vetting of the project manager and inquired regarding those who were eliminated. This person also recalled mention of the creation of a Commission Committee to oversee the Branch Library Bond program activities. Mr. Ed Regan expressed happiness that the Carnegie Branch Libraries were to be landmarked and expressed a wish that all of the proposed new branch libraries be constructed so as to permit the addition of a second story at a later date if needed. Mr. Peter Warfield observed that he had suggested selection of a project manager to centralize all of the bond related activities. Mr. Warfield asked what were the duties of the position, the reporting requirements, especially any requirement to report to the public. Mr. Warfield expressed interest in being informed of the process used to fill the position, how the position was created, how the person was selected, and how the process was funded. Mr. Warfield also inquired concerning any objections that the Library might have to going forward with the landmarking process.
Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #3 BRANCH LIBRARY BOND UPDATE
In response to questions by Commissioner Bautista, President Higueras explained the process which the Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board used to designate landmarks. He noted that in order for it to be done the Landmarks Board had to approve a designation at a public hearing which would then have to be approved by the Planning Commission, which would then forward the proposed landmark designation to the Board of Supervisors of their approval. He noted that once landmarked there were very extensive rules governing what could or could not be done to the historic fabric of the buildings. President Higueras reported that each library would have to be processed for landmark status individually. He further noted that there were serious concerns with increased costs that would be involved in the renovation, but not restoration, of a landmarked building.
President Higueras explained than in the next 100 days detailed reports on each of the buildings could be prepared with particular emphasis on the various exterior preservation costs and how needed interior renovations could be done within the landmarks framework. President Higueras noted that this would be a cooperative and collaborative process with Landmarks. Regarding the Project Manager, he noted that it was not unusual for a project of this scale to be overseen by a project manager III, the normal professional level for such a job. President Higueras noted that the standard city hiring process had been followed, including meeting of the Department of Human Resources and Human Rights Commission guidelines. President Higueras additionally noted that the level of staffing had been reported in the original scope of the bond program.
Agenda Item #4SUMMER READING PROGRAM
Ms. Toni Bernardi, Chief of Children and Youth Services, gave the Commissioners a very detailed overview of the planned Summer Reading Program related activities for children and teens. Ms. Bernardi commented that the Summer Reading Program was in reality a series of related programs providing services for children and youth from infants to 18 year olds. This year's theme was reported to be "Coil up With a Good Book" for children up to 13. Program materials featured a snake motif. It was reported that the Teen Summer Reading Program provided extensive programs for those from 13 to 18. Ms. Bernardi observed that the emphasis of this program was to keep young people reading through the Summer to maintain their reading skill level. She noted that the teen program was both more complex to operate and at the same time more simple. She reported that while the program was expanded this year, that there were still branch libraries without a teen librarian. Ms. Bernardi reported on various program activities, noting prizes which would be awarded to those who completed the program. Ms. Bernardi informed the Commissioners that again this year the theme of the Teen Summer Reading Program was determined by a competition and developed with the active involvement of the Teen Advisory Committee. The Chief of Children and Youth Services also reported on a number of non-reading activities offered through the Summer programming including lively cultural activities, films, mask making, origami, visits by animals, puppet shows, and graffiti art programs. Ms. Bernardi again outlined the "Kid Power" program that provided volunteer work experience, often the first such work experience, for its teen participants. The Chief of Children and Youth services thanked the extensive support which the Friends and Foundation of the San Francisco Public Library provided to make these critically important children and youth programs possible. She further acknowledged the extraordinary extra effort put forward by Library staff and recognized the assistance provided by the California Academy of Sciences, the Metron, as well as the Oakland A's and San Francisco Giants. Ms. Bernardi noted that Giant's team member Kirk Reeder would take part in the Summer reading program activities.
Public comment on Agenda Item #4 SUMMER READING PROGRAM
Commission comment on Agenda Item #4 SUMMER READING PROGRAM
President Higueras, Vice President Steiman, and Commissioner Bautista expressed deep appreciation for the dedication and hard work provided by the Library staff to make this important annual activity the great success it has been. In response to a question by Commissioner Steiman, Ms. Bernardi identified Artist Yen Ha of the Merced Branch as the designer of the Summer Reading Program promotional materials.
Agenda item #5 EBOOK UPDATE REPORT
Library Chief of Information and Resource Management Roberto Esteves presented an extensive report on recent progress with developing and managing the Library's growing ebook resources. Mr. Esteves commented that while the library was still at the very beginning of providing ebooks and that in July 1,2001 titles would be available. He noted that the San Francisco Library would be sharing ebook resources with the Oakland Public library, the San Jose Public Library, and the Contra Costa Library as part of 23 library members of the Golden Gateway Library Consortium. He noted that although the Consortium had been denied a planning grant to fund ebook development that the members had decided to work cooperatively to go forward now using their own resources. Mr. Esteves reported Net Library would be providing 1,500 titles, 130 computer titles and 900 general titles, selected by the San Francisco Public Library as the core ebook collection and that this collection could be expected to expand. Mr. Esteves reported that marc records for the ebooks had also been funded. Mr. Esteves then provided a detailed presentation on how to access ebooks, demonstrating a variety of methods to access the items. He noted that the next generation of e-books would be inter- active to facilitate finding specific information sought in the text. Finally, the Library's Chief of Information and Resource Management informed the Commissioner s of the Library of California's "Ready When You Are" campaign to familiarize library patrons with ebooks.
Public comment on Agenda item#5 EBOOK UPDATE REPORT
An anonymous member of the public found this report very chilling, noting that the library had gone ahead with the project even after grant funding was denied. The anonymous member of the public suggested that it would be better to admit making a mistake and re-evaluate ebooks before an unknown amount of money is spent to send library patrons to a private for-profit company. This person observed that this would be the reverse of the usual practice of transferring patrons from private to public resources, likening it to someone paying to dig their own grave. This person complained that there was no assessment of the cost to the library. Mr. Peter Warfield commented that it was difficult to do a cost/benefit analysis of this program, expressed dismay at the frequent failures experienced while trying to access ebooks, and found the demonstration a sad performance. Mr. Warfield found that a result of the transfer to this specialized subset deprived patrons of reference to information on other related materials in the Library's collections. Mr. Warfield also found the ebook collection very limited with philosophy and fiction poorly represented.
Commission comment on Agenda item #5 EBOOK UPDATE REPORT
Vice President Steiman pointed out that ebooks were currently inaccessible for Macintosh users. In response to questions by Commissioners, Mr. Esteves explained why multiple copies were needed for ebooks and described various ways to search for ebooks and materials included in ebooks. In response to a question by Commissioner Bautista, Mr. Esteves identified the Library's cost of participation as $35,000, and noted that it was his expectation that the Library would have as many as 6,000 ebook titles in the very near future in the second phase of making ebooks available for patrons.
Agenda item #6 EXHIBITS AND PROGRAMS REPORT
Ms. Marcia Schneider, Library Public Affairs Director introduced Ms. Kim Bach who provided a detailed presentation for the Commissioners on recent adult programs offered at the Main Library and in the branches. Ms. Bach reported on the criteria used by staff to determine which programs to offer. She noted that all of the Library's programming was directly tied to meeting the service goals of providing opportunities for education and training, providing access to art and cultural activities, and was multifaceted in addressing the diverse interests and needs of patrons. Ms. Bach first described the "New Main to New Millennium" exhibition of acquisitions to the library's collection since the opening of the new Main Library in 1996. She noted that this extensive exhibition was curated and mounted by library staff. Ms. Bach then discussed several other ongoing exhibits such as the "Book Works 2001" and specialized exhibits and programming offered by the Filipino American Center, the African American Center, the San Francisco History Center, and the Hormel Lesbian and Gay Center. She next described several recent popular exhibits such as the Hispanic Heritage Museum's wonderful baseball exhibit. Ms. Bach then described in some detail recent author and poet presentations and highlighted the Zyzzyva High Teas with food critics programs.
Public comment on Agenda item #6 EXHIBITS AND PROGRAMS REPORT
An anonymous member of the public applauded the report of the exhibit of recent acquisitions to the Library's collections as long over due. This individual found politically problematic several of the other programs described. Mr. Peter Warfield pointed out that he had long called for more exhibits that highlighted materials in the library's collections. Mr. Warfield further observed that there should be many more such exhibits, citing the annual Schmulowitz Wit and Humor Collection exhibit as a good example of what could be dome.
Commission comment on Agenda item #6 EXHIBITS AND PROGRAMS REPORT
In response to questions by President Higueras, the City Librarian reported that the majority of exhibits offered at the Library were created elsewhere and brought in because of the relatively large cost of mounting our own exhibits. Commission Bautista lauded the "New Main to the New Millennium" Exhibit as a valuable way to highlight the many important items in the Library's collection. Commissioner Coulter noted that it recalled the previous" Prides and Joys" exhibit which had played a critical role in gaining support for the Library among the community of rare book experts and collectors in the Bay Area.
President Higueras called a brief recess at 6:10PM
The Commission returned to session at 6:18PM.
Agenda item # 7 FRIENDS AND FOUNDATION REPORT
Mr. Chuck Forester, Executive Director of the Friends and Foundation, reported on the very successful beginnings of the "Book Bay At The Main" book store. Mr. Forester noted that the new Friends and Foundation book store was popular with both staff and patrons and had been earning significant income to be used to benefit library services. Mr. Forester then reported on efforts to gain additional funding for the "High School and Beyond" program and spoke about highlights of the City Arts and Lectures Program, branch library programs, and a series of weekly programs offered by the Hormel Lesbian and Gay Center. He concluded his report with a brief discussion of the planning activities underway to prepare for the Branch Libraries Capital Campaign to raise funds for furniture, fixtures, and equipment for the branch libraries proposed to be constructed and renovated with Prop. A. (Branch Library Construction and Improvement Bond) funds.
Commission comment on Agenda item # 7 FRIENDS AND FOUNDATION REPORT
Commissioners Bautista and Higueras commended the Friends and Foundation for its efforts to assist the Library in making materials available to the public. Vice President Steiman noted that advertising and outreach to students would be critical to the success of a program such as "High School and Beyond".
Agenda Item #8 LIBRARY LABOR UNION REPORT
Agenda item #9 NEW BUSINESS
Commissioner Bautista requested that staff provide reports on ebooks to the Commission. Vice President Steiman offered congratulations to Library Page Yen Ha for the excellent artwork she contributed to the Summer Reading program.
Public comment on Agenda item #9 NEW BUSINESS
An anonymous member of the public applauded Commissioner Bautista's call for regular reports to the Commission. This individual also noted that the Commission had requested that Commissioner's requests be printed in bold type when reported.
Agenda item #10 PUBLIC COMMENT
An anonymous member of the public commented that Commissioners who had called for Commission meetings to begin at an earlier time had not been attending meetings and suggested that the Commission revert to its former meeting time. This individual then spoke about a "Verandah Factor" as it related to experiences that this person had during travels as a youth. In particular, the anonymous member of the public commented on various chauvinistic and nationalistic educational policies as exemplified by the great attention paid to American scientists in America, French scientists in France, and most vividly by the British. This person illustrated this point by a reference to Briton James Clark Maxwell's famed work on entropy as reflected in popular culture by a reference to "Maxwell's little silver hammer" in a popular song. Mr. Ed Regan requested that the Library adopt public service hours from 6AM to Midnight seven days per week, 365 days per year.
Agenda Item #11 ADJOURNMENT
MOTION: by Commissioner Coulter, seconded by Commissioner Steiman that the meeting be adjourned.
ACTION: AYE 4-0 (Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, and Steiman)
The meeting was adjourned at 6:31PM.
Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 6/14/01
The number of members of the public who spoke anonymously at this meeting 1.