Library Commission Minutes - January 20, 2005

SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION Minutes of the regular meeting of Thursday, January 20, 2005. (As approved February 17, 2005) The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, January 20, 2005 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library. The meeting was called to order by President Higueras at 4:09pm. The following members were present: Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, and Strobin. Vice President Steiman was reported excused attendance. Agenda Items: *1) Public Comment *4) Eureka Valley-Harvey Milk Memorial Branch * 6) Adjournment *APPENDIX A AGENDA ITEM #1 PUBLIC COMMENT Ms. Emma Zevan, a Bernal Heights resident teen user, urged the Commissioners to carefully consider any design changes at the Bernal Heights Library that could reduce the amount of space devoted to teen users. Jennifer, member of the Library’s Teen Advisory Council, called attention to the very limited amounts of dedicated teen use space systemwide and urged that the Commissioners support more teen spaces in branch libraries An anonymous member of the public commented that in their view there was a six month gap between when this person proposed something and when the Commission acted on the same issue. This person then discussed their views concerning the results of Library interpretations of what was authorized by Prop. E (Library Preservation Fund 1994) and uses for those funds proposed by Supervisor Chris Daly. This person commented that one flexible definition of what was allowed under Prop. E logically resulted in others applying their own definitions. This person suggested that the Library had opened a door that it could not close. Ms. Rosario Villasana-Ruiz, spoke in support of allowing the Bernal Heights preschool program to continue to remain in the branch library following its planned renovation. Ms. Villasana-Ruiz suggested a number of options that could provide additional space for the preschool’s use and expanded public services at the branch. Dr. Philip Day, Chancellor of San Francisco Community College District, introduced San Francisco City College Trustee Dr. Julio Ramos, and urged the Library to find a “win-win” solution preserving the City College sponsored preschool program, described as a last remnant of the “Great Society” programs of the 1960s, for a new generations of low income children of color. Chancellor Day urged the Commissioners not to take any action that could result in closing this City College sponsored preschool. Chancellor Day noted that the College District had budgeted $350,000 in 2004-05 for its preschool program. The Chancellor proposed discussions leading to a partnership to sustain the preschool program at the Library between the Public Library and City College. Dr. Julio Ramos, a Bernal Heights resident, called attention to the intensive effort being made in the community to find a suitable location for the preschool, noting that these valuable public services were not in conflict and were based in a common vision that promoted opportunity for free education. Commissioner Chris Jackson, San Francisco Youth Commission, called attention to the shortage of library services for teen users, noted the Youth Commission had requested the Mayor appoint a “youth” member to the Library Commission, and found unfortunate the conflicting options between creating space for Bernal Heights’ teen users and affordable childcare services for low income people. Ms. Demece Garepis, a 30 year resident of Bernal Heights, called attention to the $40,000 she had raised in support of the Bernal Heights Branch Library and a letter supporting the renovation of Branch Library and finding a way to assist the preschool. Mr. Jose Luis Pavon, a Bernal Heights resident, urged the Commissioners to support a renovation plan for Bernal Heights Branch Library that retained the pre-school’s use of space in the branch, noted that the preschool was a safe affordable critical resource for working families adjacent to other child serving facilities, sand then repeated some of his public comment in Spanish pleading that the Commissioners retain the preschool in the branch library. Mr. Doug Holloway, a Director of the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center and 20 year resident, discussed the letter sent to the Commissioners by the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center urging that the preschool remain at the branch library. Mr. Holloway said San Francisco’s compassionate and progressive reputation also suggested such a solution. Mr. Holloway observed that precedent had been set by allowing the preschool to use dedicated space in the branch library for more than 20 years and that if it was a matter of additional money being needed that could be addressed. He also noted that there would be no wider precedent set as there were no preschool programs in any other branch library. Ms. Jennifer Norris, 17 year Bernal Heights’ resident, commented that she was looking forward to the renovation of the branch library that would provide for expanded children’s services and a dedicated teen space. She noted that dealing with change is difficult but suggested that as the preschool had to relocate in any event that the Bernal Heights community would support efforts to find a new permanent location to continue the preschool. Ms. Norris noted the importance of expanded library services for older children and teens and called for the best possible renovated branch library. Ms. Raquel Cardenas noted a lack of affordable preschool options in San Francisco and urged that the pre-school’s use of space in the branch be continued. Ms. Maggie Harrison, a 13 year Bernal Heights resident, expressed concern about finding a comparable location for the preschool, noted that she was excited about the planned renovation of the branch library, the center of the community, with additional children’s’ and teen program space. Ms Harrison recommended that everyone’s voice be brought to the table to find solution. Ms. Vida Sanford, Parent Voices, called attention to the critical importance of quality preschool programs for working families. Ms Sanford noted that the parents volunteered time to work with the staff of the preschool and that the preschool provided valuable training for childcare professionals. Ms. Sanford found the current location good for working families and expressed dismay that the proposed design included community meeting space and additional staff space. Ms. Sanford also criticized the scope of the community survey. Miss Elisa You, daughter of a parent working to keep the preschool located in the branch library, observed that kids needed the preschool and expressed her wish that it would return to the library after remodeling. Ms. Sandra Peralta, an 11 year resident of Bernal Heights and parent of three children who attended the preschool called attention to the lack of programs for low income families, noted that the preschool was small like a diamond and was well supported by the volunteer work of parents. Ms. Peralta noted that the branch library location was a safe place for children and urged that the preschool be kept in the library. Lydia, a preschool student’s parent, requested that the preschool remain in the branch library, which she described as a safe clean space, with excellent teachers, located near parks and recreation facilities and public transit. She also noted that it was free. Ms. Maria Luz Torre, Parent’s Voices, requested that the preschool remain located in the branch library pointing out that it had been there for more than 20 years, and pointed out that the preschool was internationally recognized contributing to San Francisco’s reputation as a leader in early childhood education. Ms. Torre noted the great value of access to library services for these children and called attention to the importance of inclusion of the community’s poor families. Ms. Torre noted this preschool was a gem and that it was important that the preschool remain located in the branch library. Mr. Kyle Fiori, Mission Community Council, noted that there were no other acceptable options for the preschool’s location, praised the preschool as a model parent cooperative that served a large number of low income Latino families, where parents as well as children learned from their volunteer support for the preschool. Mr. Fiori noted that the preschool should retain its dedicated space in the branch Library because it was important to the city and the biggest issue of concern was maintaining the preschool’s location. Ms. N’Tanya Lee, executive Director, Coleman Advocates for Children & Youth, supported maintaining designated space for the preschool in the branch library, and suggested that the community have a primary voice in use of space in the branch library. Ms. Lee noted that, as a lifelong library user, it was important that poor children have access to library services. Ms. Lee urged the Commissioners to support poor families access to the library and suggested that low income families had not been included in the decision making process. Eric Mar, President of the San Francisco Board of Education, called for finding a way to meet these families’ needs, and expressing support for the preschool parents. Mr. Mar noted that this was a critical decision and that displacement and gentrification were serious issues in the community. Mr. Rudy Corpuz, a Bernal Heights resident, could not understand why there was any problem with continuing this program serving poor residents at the branch library, noting that his children had attended the preschool now ongoing for more than 20 years. Mr. Corpuz noted that the preschool program worked for the people and urged the Commissioners to make a decision to please retain the preschool in the branch library. Amy, a preschool parent who noted that she did not reside in Bernal Heights, requested that the preschool be allowed to return after the branch library was remodeled noting that there were only four hours each week where there would be shared use of space between preschool program and branch library services. Ms. Shirley Castillo, a Bernal Heights’ resident and member of Parents’ Voices, suggested that the preschool program was a credit to the branch library, that the parents and children needed it, and that it should not be lost to gentrification. Ms. Viola Morris, Executive Director of the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, called on the Commissioners attention to a letter submitted by the neighborhood center and asked that they preserve the preschool’s use of dedicated space in the branch library noting that the collocation of the preschool and the branch library were part of the community. Ms. Morris recommended that the library devise a workable alternative to retain the preschool’s use of dedicated space in the branch library. Mr. Terry Milne, a Bernal Heights resident, expressed dismay concerning this conflict of limited space. Mr. Milne noted that the proposed renovation should upgrade the branch library. However, he noted, if the preschool remained there would be less space for books in the renovated branch library resulting in a new branch with less library space. Mr. Mauricio Vela, Coleman Advocates for Children & Youth, a 16 year Bernal Heights resident, recalled his years of support for libraries and work with the Friends of the Library, his support for Prop E (Library Preservation Fund 1994) and noted that there was very strong community support for both the branch library and for the preschool. Mr. Vela reported that ongoing discussion with Library staff had been unsuccessful and urged that the Public Library Commissioners act to provide the preschool with dedicated space in the renovated branch library. Mr. Vela found proposed alternatives second class options and suggested that the preschool must remain in the branch library. Mr. Vela criticized the Library’s planning process which he felt had excluded the preschool parents, was disrespectful of the community, and did not inform everyone that the preschool would be relocated. Mr. Vela noted he believed that funds were available to provide a solution to this situation. Ms. Ann Brick, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California, called attention to the important budget decisions the Commissioners would be making given the likely budget constraints facing the City. Ms. Brick expressed opposition to fund for RFID suggesting that a proposed RFID implementation proposal could resurface in the 2005-06 Budget. Ms. Brick suggested that the Library had not addressed privacy concerns expressed about use of RFID by the Library and opposed any expenditure for this purpose. Ms. Lurilla Harris, a Bernal Heights resident, spoke against retaining the preschool in the branch library, noting that the branch library was not a childcare facility. Ms. Harris suggested that after 25 years of free use that it was time for the preschool should find its own permanent location. Ms. Harris urged that plans for renovation of the branch library not include the preschool. Ms. Wendy Vilman, Parents’ Voice, found the branch library a safe place and the appropriate location for the preschool. Ms. Vilman noted that there was a critical need in San Francisco for free childcare facilities such as this preschool. Mr. Peter Warfield criticized the Library as inconsistent in allowing use of free space by some such as the Friends of the Library but not others. Mr. Warfield criticized the Library for neglect of the basics citing: his previous complaints concerning what he believed to be problems with the online catalog; criticized library staff for large numbers of unshelved books on carts in the Main Library; unfinished work in response to the Main Library Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) Report; and expressed opposition to funding for RFID. Dean Larry Kline, San Francisco City College, noted that City College was not seeking exclusive use of the space in the branch library and urged the Commissioners to work with the community to seek additional funding to retain the City College supported preschool’s use of space in the Bernal Heights Branch Library. Dean Kline commented that there would only be a four hour per week overlap of use and that both the Library and the preschool could continue to operate as they had. Ms. Muriel Meunier-Fiebelkorn, Director of the City College State Preschool at the Bernal Heights Branch Library, urged the Library Commissioners to preserve the preschool’s use of space in the branch library and seek funders to provide resources for a solution to this problem. Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #1 PUBLIC COMMENT President Higueras thanked all of those who came to the Commission meeting to offer public comment. The Library Commission President noted that their voices would be heard on this important matter and that the Commissioners would carefully consider possible solutions to this situation. President Higueras also noted that there would be additional opportunities for a full public discussion of this matter and that no decisions concerning the renovation of the Bernal Heights Branch Library had been made by the Library Commission. President Higueras urged all of those concerned to stay involved in the process of finding a solution to this problem. President Higueras announced that he was changing the order of items on the meeting agenda to take up Agenda item # 4 next. President Higueras called for a brief recess at 5:17pm The Library commission returned to session at 5:25pm. AGENDA ITEM #4 EUREKA VALLEY-HARVEY MILK MEMORIAL BRANCH Acting City Librarian Paul Underwood briefly outlined recent developments concerning a proposal brought forward by District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Historical Society for a change in plans for the renovation of the Eureka Valley-Harvey Milk Memorial Branch Library. Mr. Underwood discussed details of a proposed replacement of the current branch with a two story facility providing for an expanded 10,000 sq. ft. neighborhood branch library on the first floor and a 10,000 sq. ft. LGBT museum/research center to be located on the second floor. Mr. Underwood noted that this proposal had been discussed at a community meeting held in the Branch in December 2004 and that the Commission was faced with making a decision whether to go forward with the current renovation plan, or consider granting a delay in the branch renovation schedule to allow the Historical Society to more fully develop its proposal. The Acting City Librarian noted that there could be significant benefit to a collocated facility that expanded the existing cooperative relationship between the Library and the LGBT Historical Society. Supervisor Dufty lauded Library staff for exploring an evolving vision of the role for our libraries, citing examples of shared use in the new Mission Bay and Glen Park Branches, and called attention to the benefits to the Library and the community of collocating the Harvey Milk Memorial Branch Library with the proposed LGBT Museum/Research Center. Supervisor Dufty estimated that an additional $15 million would be necessary to make the LGBT Historical Society’s proposal a reality but noted that San Francisco had successfully raised private funds for community cultural facilities in the past. Supervisor Dufty noted that during discussions in the community the issue of the importance of preserving mid 20th century modernist buildings, such as the existing branch, had been raised and would be addressed. Supervisor Dufty noted plans could be adjusted to take these concerns into consideration when designing the new facility. Supervisor Dufty also noted that concerns about preserving and enhancing neighborhood access to the branch library, expanding children’s services, and expanding other branch services would be fully addressed. Supervisor Dufty noted that this was a valuable opportunity to enhance both the Branch Library and the neighborhood and should not be missed. The District 8 Supervisor noted that the LGBT Historical Society held unique and important collections and that this proposal could replicate the successful model pioneered by the New York Public Library’s famed Schaumburg Center for African American History & Studies. Supervisor Dufty requested that the Library Commission consider and allow a limited period of time for the LGBT Historical Society to fully develop and identifying needed funding for the proposed shared facility before deciding to go forward with the planned renovation of the existing branch building as proposed. Ms. Ruth Mahaney, LGBT Historical Society, thanked the Library Commissioners for considering this exciting proposal and outlined the history and considerable accomplishments of the LGBT Historical Society from its beginnings during the early days of the AIDS Epidemic in San Francisco. Ms. Mahaney described the unique and important collections held by the LGBT Historical Society, noting they were among the largest such collection in the world. Ms. Mahaney noted that the Society emphasized free access to these materials for both scholars and ordinary individuals and recalled the close and mutually beneficial relationship that had existed between the Historical Society and the Library’s James Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center. LGBT Historical Society Executive Director Terence Kissack, Ph.D. next reported on the institutional and fiscal condition of the Society, its priorities and structure, and its current activities and plans. Dr. Kissack discussed the longstanding successful collaborative relationship between the Library and the LGBT Historical Society and noted Acting City Librarian Paul Underwood and Hormel Center Librarian Jim Van Buskirk had participated in planning shared projects. Dr. Kissack then outlined steps that the LGBT Historical Society hoped to pursue to make this proposal a reality. Commissioner Chin left the meeting at 5:45pm. Library Branch Library Improvement Program (BLIP) Manager Marilyn Thompson then reported to the library Commissioners on various options regarding the next step in planning for the Eureka Valley-Harvey Milk Memorial Branch Library. Ms. Thompson noted that this project was already six months behind schedule and that in order to retain as much of the bond funds allocated for the proposed renovation work on the project should begin immediately. Ms. Thompson commented that a brief additional delay might not have significant impact but that a six month delay could cost the project a minimum of $300,000 or more in construction cost escalation. In that situation the Commission’s only option would be to increase the project budget or reduce the scope of renovation planned for the branch facility. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #4 EUREKA VALLEY-HARVEY MILK MEMORIAL BRANCH An anonymous member of the public complained at the lack of explanatory documents, and found the proposal problematic suggested that the proposed center would be duplicative of the Library’s existing Hormel Center. This person asked should the Library undertake proposals because money for them might be available and called attention to a Board of Supervisors Resolution calling on the Commission to favorably consider this proposal. This person suggested that there would be a loss of neighborhood library services and asked if questions about the real benefits of this project had been answered. Ms. Edith Wellen, a Buena Vista Heights neighborhood resident, expressed opposition to this proposal, suggesting that it would result in a loss of neighborhood library services. Ms. Wellen remarked that she supported preservation of history, but not here, and suggested this plan would result in a loss of open space around the existing branch and parking spaces. Mr. Peter Young, a Prosper Street neighbor, noted that this was just the most recent of several previous proposals for changes in the branch library. Mr. Yont noted that he supported preserving history but not this project. He also commented that he wanted to preserve the open space around the branch library as well as parking spaces. Mr. Greg Pennington, a community historian, called attention to the collaborative relationship existing between the Library and the Historical Society since the LGBT Historical Society was formed at a meeting held at the Main Library on March 14, 1985. Mr. Pennington suggested that the proposed museum/research center could have a positive impact on San Francisco’s important tourism industry, noting that gay and lesbian tourism was the one important visitor sector that did not diminish in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks in New York. Due to an impending loss of the Commission Meeting’s quorum President Higueras tabled the remain agenda items and continued public comment on and Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #4 EUREKA VALLEY-HARVEY MILK MEMORIAL BRANCH to the February 3, 2005 regular meeting of the Public Library Commission. AGENDA ITEM #6 ADJOURNMENT MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, 2nd Commissioner Strobin to adjourn the regular January 20, 2005 Public Library Commission meeting. Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #6 ADJOURNMENT None offered ACTION: 4-0 AYE (Bautista, Coulter, Higueras, Strobin) The Commission meeting adjourned at 6:12pm. Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 2/18/05 Please note: Copies of Commission Minutes and handouts are available in the Office of the Commission Secretary, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 ATTACHMENTS: Current BLIP Summary Schedule, Budget, and Construction Reports Eureka Valley-Harvey Milk Library options report 1/20/05 Board of Supervisors Resolution #687-04 Minutes of the Library Commission Meeting January 20, 2005 Appendix A 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. Explanatory documents: Copies of listed explanatory documents are available as follows: (1) from the Commission Secretary/Custodian of Records, Main Library, 6th Floor, (2) in the rear of the Koret Auditorium immediately before and during the meeting, and (3) to the extent possible, on the Library's Web site . Additional materials not listed as explanatory documents, if any, that are distributed to the Library Commissioners prior to or during the meeting in connection with any agenda item will be available to the public for inspection and copying in accordance with Government Code Section 54954.1 and Sunshine Ordinance §§ 67.9, 67.28(b) & 67.28(d).
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