Library Commission Minutes - April 7, 2005
SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION
Minutes of the regular meeting of Thursday, April 7, 2005.
(As approved amended May 5, 2005)
The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, April 7, 2005 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.
The meeting was called to order by President Higueras at 4:07pm.
The following members were present: President Higueras, Commissioners Bautista, Coulter, Gomez, and Strobin. Vice President Steiman and Commissioner Chin’s arrival was expected.
AGENDA ITEM #1 PUBLIC COMMENT
An anonymous member of the public commented on a March 14 (2005) New Yorker magazine article concerning the new Seattle Public Library relating a comment to controversies concerning San Francisco’s Main Library planning and design.
Jennifer, Mona, and Michael, teen library users, requested that the Main Library Teen Center be enlarged and that more materials of interest to teen users be added to the Library’s collections.
Mr. Peter Warfield also found the cited New Yorker article interesting. Mr. Warfield then recommended the Unabashed Librarian, a library world newsletter, the most recent edition of which included an article about the San Francisco Public Library. Mr. Warfield then suggested that the Randy Shilts, Epstein, and Adair important archival collections received by the Library thirteen years ago were not yet accessible to scholars despite promises made when they were accepted.
Commissioner Chin joined the meeting at 4:19pm
AGENDA ITEM #2 MAIN LIBRARY POE UPDATE REPORT
Chief of the Main Library Kathy Lawhun presented an update report on the Main Library Signage project and an overview of the Phase II reconfiguration of the 1st Floor, (copies attached). The Acting City Librarian then presented a report on recent developments related to moving into the Library’s Support Services Center at 190-9th Street, expected at the end of April/beginning of May. Mr. Underwood then discussed plans for transition of the 1st Floor areas in the Main Library from staff areas to public services. The Acting City Librarian next discussed recommendations in the Main Library Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) Report, (copy attached).
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #2 MAIN LIBRARY POE UPDATE REPORT
An anonymous member of the public noted that the two explanatory documents related to this item were not listed on the meeting’s agenda; and were lacking sufficient detail to identify the sources of funding for the projects discussed or how budgeted figures related to specific projects.
Mr. Peter Warfield suggested that the POE process on going for 5 years had still failed to address a great many of the essential changes the POE Report recommended, especially about more space for books.
Vice President Steiman joined the meeting at 4:24pm.
Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #2 MAIN LIBRARY POE UPDATE REPORT
In response to questions by President Higueras and Commissioner Bautista, the Acting City Librarian and the Chief of the Main Library discussed in detail the proposed delivery and sorting room changes as well as purchase and potential operating costs involved in the recommended system. In response to a question by Vice President Steiman, Ms. Lawhun and Mr. Underwood noted that the new system would more effectively and efficiently process materials getting them more quickly back in the hands of users; requiring less staffing that could be reassigned to meet public services needs; and exposing materials processing staff to less risk for on the job injuries. Responding to a query by President Higueras, Ms. Lawhun then outlined why the proposed system vendor was chosen and suggested that the recommended equipment had a sufficient track record in actual operation to demonstrate its reliability. Responding to questions by Commissioner Coulter and President Higueras, the Chief of the Main Library and the Acting City Librarian emphasized that they were exercising great caution in going forward with this new system. Responding to President Higueras’ question about Brooks Hall, Ms. Lawhun noted that the Library would require additional climate controlled storage for the archival collections, largely magazines and periodicals, presently held in Brooks Hall. The Acting City Librarian noted that there were no City plans to make changes in Brooks Hall. Responding to questions by Vice President Steiman, the Chief of the Main Library and the Acting City Librarian then outlined how materials would be relocated from storage and made available on the expanded collections on the 1st and 3rd floors. There followed a discussion about how best to house and plan for the expected expansion of city records and archival materials that were coming to the Library in its role as the City’s archives. Mr. Underwood reported plans were also underway to address storing branch collections during BLIP closures.
President Higueras noted that building a contemporary structure like the new Seattle Main Library was not feasible in San Francisco due to a provincial tendency; pointing out that our Main Library broke new ground as one of few such large urban libraries designed and built during the 1990’s. President Higueras further observed that the POE Report recommendations totaling $28 million had presented possible options to address issues at the Main Library. President Higueras pointed out that it was never intended that all of the possible choices proposed in the POE Report would be undertaken. President Higueras further commented that the reported $16 million cost to reconfigure the Main Library (in 2005 dollars) represented a practical response to the POE Report’s identified problems. Commissioner Coulter remarked that there had been many Byzantine issues that effected design development of the Main Library. In response to a query by Commissioner Bautista, Ms. Lawhun reported that there would be a soft launch of expanded wireless access at the Main Library beginning the next day. Ms. Lawhun then informed Vice President Steiman that wireless access would be included at the renovated branch libraries.
AGENDA ITEM #3 CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT
Acting City Librarian presented reports on the new Library Technology & Privacy Advisory Committee; the “Choosing to Participate” Exhibit; National Library Week; senior library staff vacancies; California Library Legislative Day activities; a visit to the Seattle Public Library; and exhibitions and programs. The Acting City Librarian introduced the Library’s new Chief Financial Officer Jay Manglicmot, who gave the Commissioners a brief overview of his professional background. Mr. Underwood also discussed ongoing recruiting activities for a Chief of Branches and Chief of Operations. The Acting City Librarian called attention to this year’s Library Legislative Day activities in Sacramento and presented a slide tour of the good and less successful features of the new Seattle Main Library he had recently visited. He concluded with an overview of exhibitions and programs.
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #3 CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT
Ms. Sue Cauthen, Board of Supervisors Library Citizens Advisory Committee (LCAC), informed the Commissioners of her election as Vice Chair and Mr. Dan Weaver’s election as Chair of the newly formed LCAC. Ms. Cauthen proposed to cooperate with the Library in carrying out its duties. Regarding the Library Privacy and Technology Advisory Committee, Ms. Cauthen noted that the legislation that created the body limited the ability of LCAC members to participate in Library created committees. Ms. Cauthen said that the Acting City Librarian had been asked to attend a meeting of the LCAC, but had not done so.
An anonymous member of the public suggested that they had thought that the new City Librarian would have assumed office by April. This individual expressed concerns with the use of the term “stakeholder” to descriptions of the participants in the Library Privacy and Technology Committee. This person suggested that such committees should be composed of a diversity of views.
Mr. Peter Warfield thanked Mr. Underwood for his presentation and discussed his views on the controversies related to the design and opening of the Main Library in relation to the Acting City Librarian’s presentation on the new Seattle Main Library.
Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #3 CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT
The Acting City Librarian reported that he had not been asked to attend a meeting of the Board of Supervisors’ Library Citizens Advisory Committee and would have done so had he been asked. Mr. Underwood reported that he had had detailed discussion with Mr. Weaver concerning the Library’s plans for the Technology & Privacy Committee.
In response to a query by President Higueras regarding the ACLU and EFF declining to participate in the Library’s newly created Library Privacy & Technology Advisory
Committee, Marcia Schneider, Library Chief of Public Affairs reported that she had been in contact with Lee Tien of EFF, who indicated that he would have to consult with Mr. Warfield. Ms. Schneider also said she had spoken to Ann Brick of the ACLU who indicated strong interest in following the progress of the Library’s consideration of RFID. President Higueras then asked the Acting City Librarian to explain how staff’s
plan proposed to carry out the Commissioners direction to include input from the full
diversity of views on RFID in the RFP (request for proposals) process. Acting City Librarian Paul Underwood outlined how the Advisory Committee’s work would be carried out noting that the agenda for its first meeting was not yet set and that there would be additional information developed as the Committee’s work went forward. Mr. Underwood informed President Higueras that the Committee had a target date of June 16th for a public forum at the Commission meeting to present its findings.
Deputy City Attorney Catharine Barnes explained how use of an RFI (request for information) process would facilitate wide participation by potential vendors without prejudicing participation in a future bid process. The Acting City Librarian assured President Higueras that this process would allow full evaluation of options by the Library including encumbrance of any budgeted funds while considering how to proceed with implementation of RFID should the process succeed in identifying an RFID system that met the stringent requirements of the Commission and Library staff.
Vice President Steiman observed that this process would not satisfy those who had made up their minds on this issue, but that that should not constrain staff in making its recommendations. Commissioner Coulter, a member of the Advisory Committee, found the individuals invited to participate on the Advisory Committee a diverse and interesting group and noted that the ACLU, (American Civil Liberties Union) and EFF’s (Electronic Freedom Foundation) decision not to participate did not preclude future discussions with them on the issue. Commissioner Coulter found it important that the Advisory Committee’s writ was to address the larger issues involved in protection of privacy and the best uses of new library technology. Commissioner Coulter found encouraging that a majority of LCAC members had voted in favor of cooperation with the Library. In answer to a question posed by Commissioner Bautista, Mr. Underwood noted that Library staff had not yet taken a position on RFID implementation. Mr. Underwood noted that representatives of Library unions and staff in general had indicated a willingness to work together with Library Administration to educate themselves and the wider public on this matter.
Commissioner Chin left the meeting at 6:18pm.
AGENDA ITEM #4 LIBRARY WEEK & WORKERS DAY RESOLUTION
Acting City Librarian Paul Underwood read a proposed resolution honoring Library staff during the observance of National Library Week and National Library Workers Day (copy attached).
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #4 LIBRARY WEEK & WORKERS DAY RESOLUTION
An anonymous member of the public said “stop the ignorance, stop the hate, don’t give money to the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, don’t accept money from the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library”; and then spoke in support of the proposed resolution noting that library staff could not be thanked enough for their service.
Mr. Peter Warfield thought that the proposed resolution did a thorough job in calling attention to often unseen behind the scenes but critically important work done by library staff.
Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #4 LIBRARY WEEK & WORKERS DAY RESOLUTION
Commissioner Coulter lauded the skilled and hardworking staff of the San Francisco Public Library and called attention to the need to express appreciation for the support provided to Library staff by the Friends of the Library. Commissioner Coulter expressed dismay at the anonymous member of the public’s comments and description of the Friends of the Library as a hate group and requested it be included in the minutes. In response to a question by Commissioner Bautista, Ms. Schneider explained how the Library Program attendance counts were gathered.
President Higueras noted that the highlight of his service as a Library Commissioner was working with the Library’s wonderful and passionately dedicated staff.
MOTION: by Commissioner Coulter, 2nd Commissioner Bautista, for approval of the proposed resolution honoring the annual observance of National Library Week during April 10-16, 2005 and calling attention to and commending the dedication, professionalism, creativity, and hard work of the staff of the San Francisco Public Library on National Library Workers Day observed on April 12, 2005.
Approved by the following vote:
ACTION: 6-0 AYE (Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, Gomez, Strobin, and Steiman)
President Higueras called a brief recess at 6:29pm.
The Library Commission returned to session at 6:47pm.
AGENDA ITEM #5 FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY REPORT
Ms. Donna Bero, Executive Director of the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library provided the Commissioners with an update on recent and upcoming activities by the Friends on behalf of the Library. Ms. Bero lauded the work of the Commissioners on behalf of the Library; invited the Commissioners to the upcoming Library Laureates Dinner on April 22nd; looked forward to the arrival of the new City Librarian Luis Herrera; and thanked Paul Underwood for his leadership as Acting City Librarian. Ms. Bero next called attention to this year’s Library legislative day activities in Sacramento. Ms. Bero then highlighted the true background and grassroots nature of the membership of the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library. Ms. Bero reported that its members reflected diversity of communities in San Francisco and that far from being an elitist organization serving the special interests of the few, it was a broad based group of people who loved and supported their public libraries. The Executive Director of the Friends noted that the Friends also provided free memberships for Library staff and Library volunteers and that there were several levels of individual memberships accessible to differing income levels. Ms. Bero noted most members were at the $10 to $100 level and that the Friends served as a conduit between the Library and community members, reading from letters sent to the Friends expressing love and support for the Library. Ms. Bero concluded her report discussing the Friends’ regular Friday book sales outside the Larkin Street entry of the Main Library.
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #5 FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY REPORT
An anonymous member of the public said “stop the hate, stop the ignorance, don’t give money to the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, don’t accept money from the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library”. This person noted that they had worked hard to come up with this statement as an expression of opposition to the Friends’ Capital Campaign for the Branch Libraries and their opposition to public private partnerships. This person concluded that they believed the Friends of the San Francisco Public library to be a hate group.
Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #5 FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY REPORT
Commissioner Coulter noted that the Friends of the Library made critically important contributions to our Libraries, especially raising funds to furnish and equip our Branch Libraries, and noted the demonstrated grassroots support for libraries. Commissioner Coulter noted that if the anonymous member of the public were successful in deterring generous donations to the Library that when new branches were open people would have to sit on the floor and perhaps thanks could then be attributed to the anonymous member of public in recognition of his preventing good things happening for the public. Vice President Steiman honored the work of the Friends of the Library noting that without their support and hard work in drafting and convincing the voters to adopt Prop. E (Library Preservation Fund 1994) we might be facing closure of libraries. Vice President Steiman remarked that the Friends were about as elitist as the PTA (Parent Teachers Association), and that what they do is give money to the Library. Commissioner Bautista observed that without the Friends support many important library services would suffer and represented citizen partnership and advocates for the libraries. Commissioner Strobin noted that this discussion reminded her to rejoin the Friends. Commissioner Strobin expressed her thanks for the support provided by the Friends. President Higueras expressed disappointment at the anonymous member of the public’s use of rhetoric that impugns people and found unfortunate that the 4,000 members of the Friends should be characterized with such language. Commissioner Gomez noted that public comment was an opportunity for free speech, but commented that as one who had been targeted by real hate organizations, the anonymous public comment offered was insulting.
AGENDA ITEM #6 LABOR UNION REPORT
No report was presented.
AGENDA ITEM #7 NEW BUSINESS
No new business was offered.
AGENDA ITEM #8 PUBLIC EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE EVALUATION: Commission Secretary, Michael Housh
Public Comment on AGENDA ITEM #8 PUBLIC EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE EVALUATION
An anonymous member of the public found unclear what they should comment on, not having heard a motion. This person questioned what they believed were staffing changes in the Office of the Commission Secretary.
Commission action on AGENDA ITEM #8 PUBLIC EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE EVALUATION
MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, 2nd Commissioner Strobin to go into closed session pursuant to Government Code Section 54957 and San Francisco Administrative Code Section 67.12(a) evaluation of the Commission Secretary, Michael Housh’s performance.
The Library Commission went into closed session at 7:05pm.
Vice President Steiman left the meeting during the closed session.
The Library commission returned to open session at 7:55pm.
MOTION: by Commissioner Strobin, 2nd by Commissioner Bautista pursuant to San Francisco Administrative Code Section 67.12: not to disclose any information discussed in the closed session evaluation of Commission Secretary, Michael Housh.
ACTION: 5-0 AYE (Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, Gomez, and Strobin)
AGENDA ITEM #9 ADJOURNMENT
MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, 2nd Commissioner Coulter that the meeting be adjourned.
Approved by the following vote:
5-0 AYE (Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, Gomez, and Strobin)
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 7:57 pm.
Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 5/5/05
Please note: Revisions to these Minutes by the by the Public Library Commission are in alternative typeface. Copies of Commission Minutes and handouts are available in the Office of the Commission Secretary, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
ATTACHMENTS to the April 7, 2005 Minutes:
POE Report- 4/1/05
Library Technology & Privacy Advisory Committee memo 3/25/05
Library Technology & Privacy Advisory Committee meeting schedule
City Librarian’s Report - slides of the Seattle Main Library
National Library Week and Library Workers Day Resolution
Library Commission meeting of April 7, 2005
The Public Comment Summary Statements included in these Minutes are authorized by San Francisco Administrative Code Section 67.16...
These summary statements are provided by the speaker. Their contents are neither generated by nor subject to approval or verification of accuracy, by the San Francisco Public Library Commission.
The number of members of the public who spoke anonymously at this meeting. 1