SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION
Minutes of the regular meeting of Thursday, May 5, 2005.
(As approved May 16, 2005)
The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, May 5, 2005 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.
The meeting was called to order by Commissioner Coulter at 4:08pm.
The following members were present: Commissioners Bautista, Coulter, Gomez, and Kane. President Higueras and Commissioner Chin’s arrival was expected.
Commissioner Strobin was excused attendance.
AGENDA ITEM #1 PUBLIC COMMENT
An anonymous member of the public called hateful President Higueras’s comments at the last meeting identifying the speaker and criticizing this person’s statements expressing hostility to the Friends of the Library as improper. The anonymous speaker recounted ways that they felt they had been subjected to mistreatment by the Library including threats of assassination. This person commented on the mechanisms of hate, suggesting that the many ways that it was expressed were often not revealed, and that that this person declined to internalize mistreatment to which they had been subjected.
Ms. Talen Lee, a Chinatown and Main Library teen library user, requested that the Main Library Teen Center be enlarged, have more internet access, provide a dedicated gathering place for teen users to socialize and dance, and that more materials of interest to teen users be added to the Library’s collections.
Mr. Peter Warfield commented that he was practically dizzy with all of the new arrivals on the Commission and Library staff and welcomed the newcomers. Mr. Warfield suggested that there was a greater problem with incivility on the part of the Library Commission rather than from members of the public. Mr. Warfield suggested that members of the public had interesting and valuable insights, as well as a wealth of history, memory, and knowledge about the Library, and that their participation should be welcomed.
Ms. Rea Campbell, a longtime library user and newly elected Chair of the Board of the Friends of the Library, thanked the Commissioners for their support for the work of the Friends and reported to the Commission that the Annual Library Laureates Dinner had been a great success, raising over $225,000 to support the Library. Ms. Campbell thanked the Commissioners for their hard work on behalf of our libraries.
Commissioner Coulter acknowledged the important support provided to the Library by the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library noting that the Commission did not see them as a hate group as suggested by a member of the public. Commissioner Coulter requested that the Commission Secretary connect the young people who came again to the Commission with their concerns with appropriate Library staff to find ways to enable the Library to better serve their needs.
Ms. Melissa Riley, Librarian’s Guild, clarified that the young people making public comment were requesting increased services at the Main Library’s Teen Center rather than at the Chinatown Library.
AGENDA ITEM #2 APPROVAL OF THE April 7, 2005 COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #2 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF APRIL 7, 2005
An anonymous member of the public found these minutes particularly eviscerated of meaning, calling attention to a page 2 and page 3 discussions by President Higueras concerning the challenges in gaining acceptance for contemporary architectural design in San Francisco this person found inaccurately reported. This person commented that their page 3 public comment in response was concerned with the term vested interests rather than use of the term stakeholder. This speaker also noted that comments offered by Sue Cauthen on the Library CAC were also not accurately reported.
Mr. Peter Warfield suggested many improvements were needed in these minutes as the minutes served as the record of meetings and that they should be taken seriously. Mr. Warfield noted he had provided additional information about editor of the Unabashed Librarian, (a library world newsletter), when referring to a recent article about the San Francisco Public Library that was not noted. Mr. Warfield recalled that he had referred to the article’s calling attention to important Shilts, Epstein, and Adair archival collections received by the Library thirteen years ago that the article said were not yet accessible rather than stating so himself. Mr. Warfield noted that his expression of thanks to the Deputy City Librarian for his important report on the new Seattle Library had also not been noted.
Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #2 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF APRIL 7, 2005
Commissioner Coulter suggested that report of Mr. Warfield’s expression of thanks for Mr. Underwood’s report on the new Seattle Main Library be included. The Commissioner additionally requested that his remarks in response to the anonymous member of the public’s negative comments about the Friends of the Library be expanded to include his comment that if the anonymous speaker were successful in thwarting contributions to the Friends of the Library, library users at the newly reopened branches might send thanks to the anonymous speaker when finding themselves sitting on the floor for lack of the resources provided by the Friends.
MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, 2nd by Commissioner Gomez for approval of the Minute of April 7, 2005 meeting as amended per Commissioner Coulter.
ACTION: 4-0 AYE (Bautista, Coulter, Gomez, and Kane)
President Higueras joined the meeting at 4:24pm.
AGENDA ITEM #3 NOE VALLEY BRANCH LIBRARY REPORT
City Librarian Luis Herrera presented an overview of where things stood with the proposed renovation and seismic safety improvement for the Noe Valley-Sally Brunn
Memorial Branch Library and developments since construction bid estimates had been
reviewed. The City Librarian reported that construction costs continued to rise above any levels anticipated when the Bond Program was conceived.
Branch Library Improvement Program (BLIP) Manager Marilyn Thompson then discussed in great detail the process that had been followed in planning for and gathering community input into the proposed $4.8 million renovation of the historic Noe Valley Library. Ms. Thompson outlined the seismic safety and ADA accessibility improvements that were necessary and how the Architects, Carey & Company, had made changes in the design that preserved the features requested by the community but lowered costs. Ms. Nancy Goldenberg, Carey & Company, then presented the original and revised plans (copy attached) based on the results of January 2005 cost estimates to find expensive items and develop ways to address them while maintaining the goals of the project. Ms. Thompson then discussed the range of cost implications of the revised design suggesting that additional funds would be necessary if the project was to go out to bid in mid-July with planned closure in September. City Librarian Luis Herrera concluded the report with a recommendation that the Commission increase the project budget to the top range of the construction estimates and accept the revised project plan as outlined by Ms. Goldenberger and schedule as presented.
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #3 NOE VALLEY BRANCH LIBRARY
Supervisor Bevan Dufty (District 8) welcomed the new Library Commissioners and observed that the neighborhood was now very engaged in this renovation project and pledged to continue work closely with Library staff to do everything possible to encourage construction firms as competitive bidders for this project. Supervisor Dufty noted that it was important that everyone work together to insure that this beautiful building was made even more beautiful and continued to serve the neighborhood. Supervisor Dufty requested that the Commission move forward with this project.
Ms. Debra Neimann, Friends of Noe Valley, thanked Ms. Thompson for her candor concerning the situation facing this project, noted that she was surprised to learn when calling about a holding “Harry Potter” related sleep-over event that the project was over budget. Ms. Neimann noted that the neighborhood had been waiting 17 years to get their library renovated. Ms. Neimann called attention to the high level of active engagement and strong financial support for community institutions in Noe Valley and committed to continue follow the process to its conclusion. Ms. Neimann thanked City Librarian Herrera and Supervisor Dufty for their efforts to get the project underway. Ms. Neiman urged approval of the higher end of the construction estimates.
An anonymous member of the public noted a lack for availability of explanatory documents prior to the meeting and cited an April “Noe Valley Voice” article concerning the proposed renovation. This person then recounted their understanding of the history of previous efforts to renovate this Branch Library and neighborhood concerns about it given reported suggestions by the Department of Public Works to demolish the historic structure. This person noted that providing wheelchair access to the branch given its location was a major challenge.
Ms. Carol Yenne, President, Noe Valley Merchants Association and a longtime community resident, recalled 30 years of efforts by the neighborhood to get their branch library renovated, noted the many delays, and urged the Commission to approve going forward now and get the facility renovated.
Ms. Kim Drew, Co-Chair, Capital Campaign for the renovation of the Noe Valley Branch Library, observed that the community had worked hard to raise the additional funds needed to equip the renovated branch library. Ms. Drew urged that the Commission approve the revised plan at the upper end of the cost estimate range and go forward with the renovation as requested by the community.
Ms. Joan Jackson, Noe Valley-Sally Brunn Memorial Branch Library representative Council for Neighborhood Libraries, (CNL), concurred with Supervisor Dufty’s comments and noted that the neighborhood had felt blindsided by a lack of communication concerning changes as they were occurring and that the Library needed to do a better job fostering communication. Ms. Jackson commended the Noe Valley Branch staff for their hard work.
Commissioner Chin Joined the meeting at 4:57pm.
Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #3 NOE VALLEY BRANCH LIBRARY
Commissioner Helen Marte Bautista observed that this problem had faced the Commission before and that it was necessary to go forward with the planned renovation. Commission Bautista noted that waiting would only result in greater costs later. Commissioner Bautista noted that the project architects were talented and that the proposed design revision would give the neighborhood the branch library that it wanted.
Commissioner Kane, a Noe Valley resident and regular branch user, agreed and suggested that it was important that the project get going as soon as possible.
Commissioner Gomez inquired about and was informed regarding how the redesign addressed the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessibility requirements to provide full access to the entire building including rest rooms, the main floor and the deck area.
Commissioner Coulter agreed that the project architects had done a good job in revising the proposed design that preserved what was wanted by the community. Commissioner Coulter agreed that maintaining communication with the community was essential and liked the idea of a “Harry Potter” related sleep over event at the Branch.
Commissioner Chin wondered if the Library would be able to afford to continue to make similar cost related decisions on the remaining projects.
President Higueras noted that the BLIP program was not exempt from future
construction costs spikes and that the Library Commission would have to carefully evaluate each project and if necessary recalibrate program to re-focus on exactly what was outlined in the original bond proposal in order to complete the entire Bond Program as promised in Prop. A (Branch Library Improvement Bond 2000). President Higueras noted that the Library’s bond management had been lauded for careful stewardship of its resources and that he remained confident that the Bond Program would remain true to its commitments to every branch in the system.
MOTION: by Commissioner Coulter, 2nd by Commissioner Bautista to approve addition of $672,000 to the project budget, revising as proposed, the Noe Valley–Sally Brunn Memorial Branch Library Project schedule and scope and accept the revised building plan.
ACTION 6-0 AYE (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Gomez, Higueras, and Kane)
AGENDA ITEM #4 CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT
City Librarian Luis Herrera presented reports on the City Librarian transition; Legislative Day activities in Sacramento, Library Technology & Privacy Advisory Committee related activities; and exhibitions and programs.
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #4 CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT
An anonymous member of the public commented that the new City Librarian and new Library Commissioner had not been formally introduced. This person noted attending the meeting of the Library Technology & Privacy Advisory Committee finding the discussions most interesting. This person commented that Commissioner Coulter had attempted to set a positive tone at the beginning of the meeting and observed that technology does not have a value in and of itself and that the social costs of technology must be considered, pointing out that even good technologies can do harm. This speaker suggested that times had changed since the days when the Library thought that visionaries could shove technologies down the throat of the community.
Ms. Sue Cauthen, Vice Chair, Board of Supervisors Library Citizens’ Advisory Committee, commented on the activities of the Advisory Committee. Ms. Cauthen commended City Librarian Luis Herrera’s decision to take public comment at meetings of the Library Technology & Privacy Advisory Committee, suggesting that much could be learned from public comment.
Ms. Melissa Riley, Librarian’s Guild, noted her participation on the Library Technology & Privacy Advisory Committee and commented that its scope was wider that just health and privacy issues related to RFID.
Mr. Peter Warfield commented he was glad to learn about the proposed reading project “One City, One Book”, and noted that he had urged that the Library do more to feature materials in its collections, suggesting that there could even be branch tie-ins to such programs. Mr. Warfield applauded the decision to take public comment at the meetings of the Library Technology & Privacy Committee but expressed disappointment that it was constituted as a passive meeting body, would produce no report, that no outspoken opponent of RFID was chosen to serve on the committee. Mr. Warfield reiterated his opposition to RFID and noted there had not been discussion of RFID’s down side.
Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #4 CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT
Commissioner Coulter discussed his experiences as a member of the Library Technology and Privacy Advisory Committee noting that its members had not taken a position on RFID. Commissioner Coulter noted that Ann Brick of the ACLU and Lee Tien of EFF, critics of RFID, had been invited to participate and that public was invited in as well. Commissioner Coulter reported that he expected the Committee to take a greater role in considering the issues before it. Commissioner Coulter commented that involvement of a privacy expert would make it better and observed that it had had a good first meeting.
Commissioner Bautista read the list, thanking those named for their outstanding public service, and requested that that the names of those Library staff who had been nominated and recognized during the 2005 Staff Recognition Program be attached to the Minutes (Copy attached).
President Higueras and Commissioner Kane reported that they had attended the 2005 Staff Recognition Program and lauded it as a special moment of family for the Library.
Commissioner Chin noted that when a book is available its author will attend.
Commissioner Bautista thanked the Friends for making the Annual Library Laureates Dinner possible; reporting that it had been a great, well produced event, with great food.
AGENDA ITEM #5 RESOLUTION HONORING COMMISSIONER STEIMAN
President Higueras read the proposed resolution calling attention to and honoring the contributions made by former Commission Vice President Carol Steiman during her years of dedicated and exemplary public service as a member of the San Francisco Public Library Commission. (Copy attached).
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #5 RESOLUTION HONORING COMMISSIONER STEIMAN
An anonymous member of the public expressed thanks for former Commissioner Steiman for her service.
Ms. Deborah Doyle, Friends of the Library, cited former Commissioner Steiman as a mentor whose service on both the Board of the Friends and the Commission was characterized by bringing needed focus to both the needs of the branches as well as the Main Library. Ms. Doyle recalled Commissioner Steiman’s leadership and service on the Council for Neighborhood Libraries (CNL) and recalled her taking Library Sciences classes to better understand the issues. Ms. Doyle recalled Commissioner Steiman’s commitment to quietly research issues and to always check in with those impacted. Ms. Doyle noted she will be missed.
Mr. Peter Warfield commended Commissioner Steiman for fairness and listening despite disagreements; he appreciated her willingness to state her opinions and go to the Board of Supervisors to support her views. Mr. Warfield noted that she was deserving of commendation.
Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #5 RESOLUTION HONORING COMMISSIONER STEIMAN
President Higueras noted that former Vice President Steiman had been an effective partner in leadership of the Commission and that she personified the ideal of a “Citizen Commissioner. President Higueras also acknowledged the commitment and sacrifice of Commissioner Steiman’s husband, Harvey Steiman, who devotedly supported her work.
Commissioner Coulter saluted former Commissioner Steiman’s passionate commitment to our libraries and noted that it had been a privilege to serve with her. Commissioner Coulter noted that her feisty spirit had much in common with the late Ms. Stong, whose tradition former Commissioner Steiman had followed.
Commissioner Chin honored former Commissioner Steiman’s impressive knowledge of our libraries and her example of true sensitivity. Commission Chin said she would miss Commissioner Steiman’s passion and her standing up for the needs of all of the public.
Commissioner Bautista fondly recalled a day spent with Commissioner Steiman walking in Glen Park during the process for selecting a site for its new branch Library. Commissioner Bautista thanked former Commissioner Steiman for sharing her expertise and knowledge, noting that they had been on the same page on many issues.
Commissioner Gomez thanked former Commissioner Steiman for welcoming her to the Commission and providing a great example to follow.
Commissioner Kane saluted former Commissioner Steiman’s service and noted that he wanted to learn from her example.
MOTION: by Commissioner Coulter, 2nd Commissioner Bautista, for approval of the proposed resolution honoring Commissioner Carol Steiman.
Approved by the following vote:
ACTION: 6-0 AYE (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, Gomez, and Kane)
Former Commissioner Steiman rose to express her thanks and appreciation for what was an unexpected honor and called to mind her decades of support for her neighborhood branch library. Commissioner Steiman fondly remembered the example provided by the late civic and library activist and leader Mary Louise Stong in bringing her into greater roles in support of the public library. Commissioner Steiman thanked and lauded her former colleagues on the Library Commission as a caring and diverse group dedicated to public service. Commissioner also thanks the Commission Secretary, Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood for their assistance to her during her years on the Commission and welcomed City Librarian Herrera to the great opportunities and challenges of leading the library system. The former Commission Vice President promised to stay around and remain active and involved in supporting San Francisco’s libraries. The Commission paused briefly to take commemorative photographs.
AGENDA ITEM #6 NOMINATION OF COMMISSION OFFICERS FOR 2005
Commissioner Chin, 2nd by Commissioner Gomez nominated President Higueras to continue in office during 2005 and Commissioner Gomez, 2nd by Commissioner Chin nominated Commissioner Coulter to serve as Vice President. No other nominations for Commission officers for 2005 were made. The Commission Secretary noted that additional nominations could be offered at the next meeting prior to the election of the 2005 officers.
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #6 NOMINATION OF COMMISSION OFFICERS FOR 2005
AGENDA ITEM #7 FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY REPORT
Ms. Donna Bero, Executive Director of the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library noted the observance of “Cinco de Mayo” and expressed the Friends of the Library’s warm welcome to the new City Librarian.
Ms. Bero then provided an update report on the April 20th California Library Association (CLA) sponsored Annual Library Lobbying Day activities in Sacramento noting that San Francisco’s delegation was the largest participating and its activities were widely noted. Ms. Bero reported on discussions with Assemblyman Leland Yee and with staff members representing Assemblyman Leno and State Senators Jackie Spier and Carole Migden. The Friends’ Executive Director noted that the trip provided opportunities to call attention to the new State Library Construction Bond proposal SB 1161 and for support for state library funding. Additionally, Ms. Bero noted the visit to Sacramento provided opportunities to network with regional partners in Marin and San Mateo Counties to work together in support of California’s libraries. Ms. Bero highlighted the happy coincidence that allowed the delegation to witness the confirmation of former City Librarian Susan Hildreth to be State Librarian of California.
Ms. Bero next provided an overview of the ongoing Friends’ Capital Campaign in support of the branch libraries. The Friends Executive Director then discussed the Friends’ support for the Library’s “One City, One Book” Program recently announced by the Mayor. Library Chief of Public Affairs Marcia Schneider provided additional details and discussed plans for the “One City, One Book” Program focused on San Francisco Author Gus Lee’s well regarded coming of age novel China Boy.
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #5 FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY REPORT
Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #5 FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY REPORT
Commissioner Bautista lauded the great work done by the Friends in support of the Library noting that their efforts had made participation in the Annual Library lobbying Day in Sacramento successful. President Higueras noted that the Library benefited from having relationship with such strong legislative advocates as Assemblyman Mark Leno. Commissioner Chin expressed the hope that next year’s Legislative Day activities would be scheduled on another day so that she would be able to participate as she had wished to this year.
AGENDA ITEM #6 LABOR UNION REPORT
Melissa Riley, Librarian’s Guild, thanked Commissioner Bautista for entering comments into the record and welcomed Commissioner Kane expressing her appreciation that he had attended the Annual Staff Recognition Program. Ms. Riley also the Unions were happy to meet with City Librarian Luis Herrera noting that the Library unions welcomed him as one who listens to staff and were happy that Mr. Herrera encouraged library staff to bring concerns and recommendations to him directly.
AGENDA ITEM #7 NEW BUSINESS
Newly appointed Public Library Commissioner Larry Kane introduced himself and discussed his background as a life long library user, new Father, Attorney, and wrestling Coach at Galileo High School and expressed his happiness to be able to serve. Commissioner Kane recalled his happiness at participating in the Annual staff Recognition Program as his first activity as a member of the Commission.
Commissioner Bautista requested calendaring of an item on the need for Teen Services at the Library, although questioned the possibility for dancing. President Higueras noted that the item should focus its scope both the local and global needs for Teen Services.
Commissioner Chin requested calendaring of a discussion developing a fair policy and find ways of insuring equity during the branch Library Improvement Program for each of San Francisco’s diverse communities, not just more activists ones.
Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #7 NEW BUSINESS
An anonymous member of the Public confessed that their middle name Lawrence was also shortened as a child to Larry but suggested that the new Commissioner might be known as Coach given his involvement with a fascinating ancient sport of wrestling. This person noted concerning Teen Service that what was being discussed were library services and that it was important to introduce them to reading. This person then discussed to ongoing dynamic involved in the branch renovations at Noe Valley, as with the Taravel Branch, noting that it was important to note this message means that that the costs continue to add up.
Mr. Peter Warfield agreed with everything suggested and expressed appreciation for Commissioner Kane’s introduction of himself. Mr. Warfield commented that he hoped that the new City librarian and new Commissioners would offer a blast of fresh air and result in more books and open hours a priority for citizens when they adopted Prop. E in 1994. Mr. Warfield noted that important issues had been identified and expressed his wish that they would come to the agendas soon.
Commissioner Bautista left the meeting at 7:51pm.
AGENDA ITEM #8 ADJOURNMENT
Commissioner Coulter lauded the outstanding service that Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood had provided while serving as Acting City Librarian. These remarks were seconded by President Higueras, who acknowledged the dedication skill, and leadership Mr. Underwood had shown while serving as Acting City Librarian. The Deputy City Librarian expressed his appreciation for the Commissioner’s kind remarks.
MOTION: by Commissioner Chin, 2nd Commissioner Kane that the meeting be adjourned in thanks and honor of Paul Underwood’s exemplary service as Acting City Librarian.
Approved by the following vote:
5-0 AYE (Chin, Coulter, Higueras, Gomez, and Kane)
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 7:57 pm.
Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 5/19/05
Please note: Minutes and handouts are available in the Office of the Commission Secretary, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
ATTACHMENTS to the May 5, 2005 Minutes:
Noe Valley Branch Library renovation Floor Plans: Scheme A Floor 1
(PDF), Floor 1
(PDF), Floor 2
5/2/05 slide presentation on the Noe Valley Branch Library renovation
Resolution Honoring Commissioner Carol Steiman: draft resolution
2005 Library Staff Recognition Program Nominees & Honorees
Library Commission meeting of May 5, 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.