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Library Commission Minutes - June 2, 2005

SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION Minutes of the regular meeting of Thursday, June 2, 2005. (As approved amended July 21, 2005) The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, June 2, 2005 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library. The meeting was called to order by Commissioner Coulter at 4:04pm. The following members were present: Commissioners Coulter, Gomez, Kane, and Strobin. President Higueras and Commissioners Bautista and Chin’s arrival was expected. President Higueras joined the meeting at 4:16pm. Commissioner Bautista joined the meeting at 4:24pm. Commissioner Coulter announced that Agenda Item #2 ELECTION OF COMMISSION OFFICERS FOR 2005 would be continued to the June 16th regular meeting of the Public Library Commission. AGENDA ITEM #1 PUBLIC COMMENT An anonymous member of the public said “Stop the hate, stop the ignorance. Don’t give money to the Friends and Foundation. Don’t accept money from the Friends and Foundation”. This person then spoke about what they described as commendation of nine library activists by noted library world figure Sandy Berman, a recipient of the American Library Association’s (ALA) highest honors. This person then commented on their remarks related to a litmus test in the selection of the City Librarian. Mr. Peter Warfield also noted Mr. Sandy Berman, who he described as a champion of “user friendly” catalogs, recognition of library activists. Mr. Warfield also discussed San Francisco Board of Supervisors Library Citizens Advisory Committee (LCAC) actions taken at its May 25th meeting concerning the Library’s book budget and in opposition to use of RFID technology. AGENDA ITEM #3 INGLESIDE LIBRARY PEER REVIEW Bond Program Manager Marilyn Thompson presented a brief outline and overview of how the peer review would be conducted. Ms. Thompson next introduced the members of the Peer Review Panel, Mr. Michael Tauber, Mr. Chandler McCoy, and Mr. John Pederson, and then briefly outlined their professional background and experience. Ms. Thompson then began the first peer review by introducing the architects of the Ingleside Branch Library, Ann Fougeron, Ann Fougeron Architecture and Group 4 Architects. Ms. Thompson noted that at present the project was $300,000 over budget and that revisions in the plans were under review to address this situation. Ms. Fougeron then presented a detailed overview of the design development for this project and discussed aspects of details shown in drawings presented. (see attached). BLIP Manager Marilyn Thompson then introduced Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood who presented the Library’s response to the proposed design for the new Ingleside Branch Library. The Deputy City Librarian outlined the history of this project, emphasizing the extensive review and community input that was gathered on this project during the preparation of its ultimately successful application for Prop. 14 State Library Construction Bond funds. Mr. Underwood noted more books, seating and computers, as well as a program would be provided in the new facility. The Deputy City Librarian found the architects proposal meet the functional and service plan needs of the adult and children as well as space for teen users outlined by the Library staff and the Community. Mr. Tauber presented his reviews and comments. (Copy attached) Mr. McCoy presented his comments and review. (Copy attached) Mr. Pederson presented his review and comments. (Copy attached) Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #3 INGLESIDE LIBRARY PEER REVIEW An anonymous member of the public spoke about a lack of information about the qualifications and expertise of the panelists. This person then discussed aspects of the proposed design calling attention to challenges involved in addressing the proposed designs for the Children’s Center and the Main Reading Room. This person wondered how standards of quiet could be maintained and questioned the exterior design’s connection to the neighborhood, suggesting that the direction of future development in the neighborhood was unknown. Mr. Dan Weaver, Friends of the Ingleside Library, was pleased with the proposed design especially noted that the proposed Children’s areas would be a magnet for neighborhood children. Mr. Weaver found the new branch library to be a major addition to the neighborhood and urged careful attention be paid to the details. Mr. Weaver recommended use of native plants in the courtyard that would attract butterflies and birds and suggested use of a Ginkgo tree instead of the proposed Eucalyptus. Ms. Melissa Riley, Librarian’s Guild, expressed concern with the lack of professional library experience among the Peer Reviewers, and inquired about the functionality of some of the proposed aspects of the branch design, including the children’s spaces, potential noise issues, about the dimensions and look of the Main Reading Room, the lack of sufficient tables and concerning how the branch librarian’s might function within the spaces as designed. Mr. Peter Warfield complained that explanatory materials were not available in advance of the presentation suggesting that this deprived the public of opportunity to review and consider what was being proposed. Mr. Warfield expressed his concerns with the reader seating, the new branches’ book count, and allocation of space for computers. Ms. Kathleen Maddox, a 21 year Westwood Park resident and regular branch library user, found the proposed interior design pleasing but expressed concern that the proposed Children’s area was too adjacent to the front door. This neighbor found the proposed contemporary exterior design not to be harmonious with the neighboring Ingleside and Westwood Park and traditional Mediterranean, Arts & Crafts, and California Bungalow architectural designs found throughout the neighborhood. Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #3 INGLESIDE LIBRARY PEER REVIEW Commissioner Chin joined the meeting during the Peer Panel presentation. Upon the Commission’s resuming their seats, President Higueras assumed the Chair. Commissioner Strobin began the discussion of the Architects and Peer Panelists presentations. Commissioner Gomez inquired about possible security concerns with the alcove entry and book drop locations, and Ms. Fougeron discussed the rationale behind the proposed design and noted that lighting could address some of these concerns. Commissioner Bautista urged that consideration be give n to providing a secure parking area for the many baby carriages that the new branch library would certainly attract and noted that use of native plants in the courtyard garden could provide additional educational opportunities for the children using the new branch. Commissioner Bautista recommended consulting with a naturalist about how to use plants that could attract birds and butterflies. Commissioner Chin suggested that any “native plants” used be carefully chosen considering the lack of funds available to maintain courtyard garden. Commissioner Chin inquired concerning the proposed lighting designs and about potential use of solar power installations at the new branch. Commissioner Coulter questioned the use proposed for the courtyard garden area whether it was fenced in liked the suggestion that the program room after-hours entry be moved to the courtyard asked about bicycle parking found the proposed birds and butterflies a good idea asked about adequacy of security for the children’s area. Commissioner Kane expressed preference that the courtyard garden be usable and asked for a more detailed discussion of how much this design could put the project over its proposed budget. President Higueras noted that challenges facing the architects to maintain design excellence within strict constraints of the project’s budget and lauded the manner in which the seating was arranged. In response to President Higueras’ question, Ms Fougeron confirmed that fencing enclosed the courtyard area creating a secure area. President Higueras noted challenges in making courtyards, a regular feature of branch libraries designed since the 1950s actually function. President Higueras found the proposed design delightful and a great opportunity to create a structure that would act as a beacon for the entire community. The Commission President lauded the height of the proposed roof design and the extensive use of natural light. Mr. Higueras expressed the hope that it could survive the design process Commissioner Coulter noted how well the design fit into the mosaic of very different aspects of Ocean Avenue as it ran through the neighborhood. President Higueras called a brief recess at 6:06pm. The Library Commission returned to session at 6:20pm AGENDA ITEM #4 PORTOLA BRANCH LIBRARY PEER REVIEW Bond Program Manager Marilyn Thompson introduced the Architects for the Portola Branch Library, Mr. Chris Noll and Ms Jill Stoner. Mr. Noll presented a detailed overview of the design development for this project and then Ms. Stoner discussed details of the floor plans and drawings presented (copy attached). BLIP Manager Marilyn Thompson then introduced Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood who gave the Library’s response to the proposed design for the new Portola Branch Library. Mr. Tauber presented his reviews and comments. (Copy attached) Mr. McCoy presented his comments and review. . (Copy attached) Mr. Pederson presented his review and comments. (Copy attached) Commissioner Chin left the meeting during this Peer Panel presentation. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #4 PORTOLA BRANCH LIBRARY PEER REVIEW Ms. Melissa Riley, Librarian’s Guild, expressed the hope that the Branch Manager’s concerns had been addressed, proposed community meeting room to small to be of use after hours lock up responsibilities. Ms. Riley suggested that as the Branch was so small perhaps a Branch Manager’s Office wouldn’t be needed. Ms. Riley urged consideration that room be found for a separate reference desk and observed that there was a rise of creating a wind tunnel at proposed doorway without a vestibule. An anonymous member of the public criticized the architects characterization of the Portola Neighborhood that this person said was not a “walking area” and decried the location away from main streets. The person also criticized the $1.2 million price of the small property as too costly, suggested there was no parking available, found the proposed design wrong, and the information presented to meager. Mr. Peter Warfield again noted that explanatory materials were not available in advance of the presentation, complaining that this deprived the public of opportunity to understand and comment on what was being proposed. Mr. Warfield decried what he found to be a change of policy by architecture and the lack of a separate reference desk. Mr. Warfield preferred having two librarians available to assist users, and criticized the proposed placement and use of express checkout and online reserves. Ms. Toni Bernardi, Chief of Children’s and Youth Services, emphasized the importance that there be separate and distinct areas for teens and children area. Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #4 PORTOLA BRANCH LIBRARY PEER REVIEW Commissioner Gomez inquired about the distinction between the areas for teen and children and was informed that there would be distinct areas for preschoolers, children, and a designated Teen area. Commissioner Kane inquired concerning the placement of the Program Room and concerning the long walk it would take to reach it and about access to it from the Children’s Area and about the window areas. Commissioner Coulter inquired why flag poles, as were required on public buildings, could not be used to heighten the identity of the civic nature of the building and noted that he thought that the proposed exterior design could be more attractive. Commissioner Coulter inquired as to why the Library could not pursue a Planning Department variance that would allow for a better placement of the building on the site and suggested softening the proposed colors. Commissioner Coulter also proposed that staff discuss ways to facilitate the best possible placement of the new building on the site with school district staff and if needed gather political support to get Planning approvals for a variance. President Higueras asked about and was informed concerning the design decisions concerning fencing along the access path to the Program Room and also suggested that staff go to a higher authority than a planner if variances were necessary to get the best design possible for this site. The Commissioners expressed willingness to apply political pressure to achieve necessary exceptions to standard plan requirements. President Higueras also recommended revisions to the entry area and found the overall look of the building with small windows and textured walls too much like an armory. President Higueras disagree with public comment suggestion the Portola was not a pedestrian neighborhood and noted nearby major neighborhoods streets. Commissioner Bautista creating important and needed civic presence in community and felt the design as presented was not welcoming. Commissioner Bautista also recommended that the Children’s areas have outside access and noted that this branch would very heavily used by children and teen users. Commissioner Bautista agreed that the Commissioner should take their concerns to the planning Commission if it was needed. Commissioner Strobin inquired about the degree of privacy available in the proposed Teen areas and about use of the Program Room by teen users. Commissioner Strobin asked about the lighting available for users of the proposed window seating areas. In response to President Higueras’ noting that the Commissioners would like to further review aspects of this project’s design, Ms. Thompson proposed present revisions at the next step in the regular design review process. The BLIP Manager then outlined the next steps in the project design process and discussed how the Planning Department issues that had been raised might be addressed. AGENDA ITEM #5 POTRERO BRANCH LIBRARY PEER REVIEW Bond Program Manager Marilyn Thompson introduced the Project Architect of the renovation of the existing Potrero Branch Library, Mr. Phil Sowers, Bureau of Architecture, Department of Public Works. Mr. Sowers presented a detailed overview of the design development for this renovation project and then discussed details of the floor plans and drawings presented (copy attached). BLIP Manager Marilyn Thompson then introduced Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood who gave the Library’s response to the proposed design for the Potrero Branch Library renovations. The Deputy City Librarian outlined that challenges involved in the renovation of this very popular but very small neighborhood branch. Mr. Tauber presented his reviews and comments. (Copy attached) Mr. McCoy presented his comments and review. (Copy attached) Mr. Pederson presented his review and comments. (Copy attached) Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #5 POTRERO BRANCH LIBRARY PEER REVIEW Mr. Chet Roaman, Council for Neighborhood Libraries (CNL) and Library Technology & Privacy Advisory Committee, suggested that changes could be made by moving the building’s façade forward to add additional space. Mr. Roaman noted that the Community was very engaged and that the Branch Library was the center and crossroads of the neighborhood. An anonymous member of the public lauded the simplicity of the current facility likening it to a neighborhood movie theatre with a cityscape as its screen. This person suggested that the entry design could be more welcoming and questioned how what was proposed without any increase in space for collections could cost $4 million. Mr. Web Wren, Potrero Hill resident citing the limited 515 sq. ft of walking around space, proposed relocation of the front window designs to increate the amount of circulating space in the renovated facility. Mr. Wren suggested that south facing windows would provide the best lighting and that creating ability to see through the Branch Library to the cityview beyond was important. Mr. Peter Warfield again noted that explanatory materials were not available in advance of the presentation complaining that this deprived the public of opportunity to understand and comment on what was being proposed. Mr. Warfield questioned the expense of this project, albeit liking the “artichoke” light fixtures, given the minimal results gained by the proposed renovation and suggested that a lot of money was being spent for little or no gain. Mr. Warfield commented that use of the Library’s space for the Potrero Hill Art Show should not drive the renovation’s design project and expressed concern about the use of glass stair treads. Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #5 POTRERO BRANCH LIBRARY PEER REVIEW President Higueras noted that the existing facility was charming and modest and suggested that the plan could be improved by switching staff areas forward. President Higueras also discussed the problems inherent in putting so much into such a small building and suggested perhaps the stairway and the exterior façade were overdone. President Higueras proposed that the current building’s assets, its simplicity and charm with a great view guide creation of the renovation design. Commissioner Coulter suggested relocation of the front door and realignment of the windows noting that the proposed renovation design lacks any “Ah!” factor given the spectacular views present in the existing building and noted that there had been much unhappy history with creation of small planter boxes at branch libraries. Commissioner Coulter suggested moving the Program Room and the staff areas to increase usable space. Commissioner Bautista did not care for the façade or the stair design and suggested that the proposed entry be made more formal to create a civic presence. Commissioner Strobin felt the proposed design did not fit in well with the neighborhood. President Higueras observed that serious concerns with the proposed design made it necessary that revisions be brought back to Commission for further review. AGENDA ITEM #6 BOND PROGRAM MANAGER’S REPORT Ms. Thompson’s noted that this monthly BLIP Manager’s regular report contained no informational presentation. Ms Thompson presented her regular program budget, schedule, and construction reports (copies attached); as well as an update on active projects; and noted ongoing community outreach; and concluded by mentioning that there would be no special report this month. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #6 BOND PROGRAM MANAGER’S REPORT An anonymous member of the public commented that this had been long and interesting meeting. This individual urged that, unlike situations in the past such as the relocation of the Pioneer Monument, that the Commissioners must consider cost and benefits including cost associated with undertaking a political battle when considering going forward with projects. This person concluded by noting that holding such discussions has a benefit to the Commission, the staff, and the public and sends a positive message. Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #6 BOND PROGRAM MANAGER’S REPORT President Higueras again thanked the Peer Review Panelists for their participation and important contributions to maintaining excellence in design in the Branch Library Improvement Program (BLIP). AGENDA ITEM #7 ADJOURNMENT MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, 2nd Commissioner Coulter that the meeting be adjourned. Approved by the following vote: 6-0 AYE (Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, Gomez, Kane, and Strobin) There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 9:34 pm. Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 6/7/05 Please note: These are draft minutes subject to revision by the public library Commission. 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 June 2, 2005 Minutes: BLIP Manager’s Budget & Schedule reports (6/2/05) BLIP Manager’s Report Slides (6-2-05) Ingleside Design Review (6-2-05) Portola Design Review (6-2-05) Potrero Design Review (6-2-05) Appendix A Library Commission meeting of June 2, 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