Library Commission Minutes - February 5, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY COMMISSION Minutes of the regular meeting of Tuesday, February 5, 2002 (As approved March 5, 2002) The San Francisco Public Library Commission held its regular meeting on Tuesday, February 5, 2002 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library. The meeting was called to order at 4:05 PM by President Higueras. The following members were noted present: Commissioners Bautista, Chin, Coulter and Streets. Commissioners Steiman and Swig were excused attendance. President Higueras announced that Agenda Item #3 Library Budget would be taken up second and then the City Librarian’s Report would be heard. Agenda Items: 1. APPROVAL OF THE JANUARY 2, 2002 MINUTES 2. CITY LIBRARIAN"S REPORT 3. LIBRARY 2002/2003 BUDGET 4. FRIENDS & FOUNDATION REPORT 5. LABOR UNION REPORT 6. NEW BUSINESS 7. PUBLIC COMMENT 8. ADJOURNMENT 9. Appendix A AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE JANUARY 2, 2002 MINUTES Public comment: An anonymous member of the public provided copies of and commented that the Fuhrman Fund discussion that occurred at the January 17th meeting was not reported in the Minutes. The anonymous member of the public also commented on the Commissioners’ duties as Trustees of the Fuhrman Fund. Mr. Ed Regan requested that his comment concerning library furniture be amplified to include comfortable chairs. Mr. Peter Warfield found the Minutes deficient and cited a variety of things he believed had been left out. Mr. Warfield noted in particular discussions concerning the affinity centers, creation of space for books, and the Systemwide Support Services Center. Commission comment: Motion: by Commissioner Coulter, seconded by Commissioner Chin for approval of the Minutes of January 2, 2002. Action: AYE 5-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, and Streets) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA ITEM #3 LIBRARY 2002/2003 BUDGET Mr. George Nichols, Library Finance Director provided an extensive overview of three proposed options that the Commission could consider to address the Mayor’s Budget Office’s mandate of a 10% reduction in the Library 2002/03 Budget (copy attached). Mr. Nichols then discussed details of and implications of the impact on staffing and public services of each of the possible reduction plans. Public comment: An anonymous member of the public commented on the lack of overall budget context for the proposed reductions. The anonymous member of the public suggested that the Library’s Public Relations Department budget be reduced in favor of public services. Ms. Sue Cauthen urged elimination of book budget reductions. Mr. Ed Regan requested that the proposed book budget reductions be reported in fiction and non-fiction and encyclopedias. Ms. Amanda Thomas, Manager of the Tool Lending Center pointed out that it had become a valuable community resource. Ms. Thomas pointed out that the Tool Lending Center was a model for other communities and that it was playing an important role as a partner with the American Red Cross in community emergency and earthquake preparations. Mr. Peter Warfield commented that information on the budget had not been accurately presented and was not in context because information on the entire budget was lacking. Mr. Warfield noted that an accelerated purchase of computers was not discussed nor were other options offered instead of reductions in the book budget. Mr. Warfield commented that elimination of 2nd notices was proposed even though the Board of Supervisors had wanted the Library to send out 2nd notices on overdue materials. Commission comment: In response to questions by Commissioner Streets, Mr. Nichols and the City Librarian discussed the Library’s gradual reduction in financial support for the Tool Lending Center, described funding for maintenance in branch libraries planned for renovation in the Branch Bond Program, and identified the PTAN (part time as needed) and other unfilled positions that were proposed for cuts. Ms. Kathy Lawhun, Chief of the Main Library explained that public services could be maintained with the reductions proposed. Commissioner Streets commented that she was not optimistic about economic recovery and was concerned that the Library maintain reserve funds to prevent a re-occurrence of financial problems experienced in the previous recession. The City Librarian and Mr. Nichols noted that preserving current full time positions was a high priority and that the reality that personnel costs were 80% of the Library Budget and the Book Budget 10% directed where reductions had to occur. Mr. Nichols also noted that the Library’s previous fiscal difficulties had been rooted in financial mis-management that no longer existed. The Commissioners discussed several ways that the reductions might be made without further reducing the book budget. Commissioner Bautista expressed the hope that the local economy would revive thus eliminating the need for the cuts. Commissioner Coulter suggested that some of the proposed reduction in the Book Budget be restored and replaced with cuts in positions. The City Librarian and Mr. Nichols proposed that the Commission consider adopting the proposed 75% use of reserve roposal with changes in the planned position reductions while limiting reductions in the book Budget to 5%. Motion: by Commissioner Bautista, 2nd by Commissioner Streets for approval of the 2002/03 Library budget reduction proposal calling for using 75% of the reserve funds and with a limitation of the reduction in the book budget to 5%. Action: AYE 5-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, and Streets) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA ITEM #2 CITY LIBRARIAN"S REPORT City Librarian Susan Hildreth reported to the Commission on the ALA (American Library Association) Mid-Winter gathering. Ms. Hildreth noted that SFPL Librarian Cathy Bremer had been named to a Task Force on Pay Equity for Librarians by ALA President Mitch Friedman. The City Librarian then provided a report on the Pinnacle copiers’ contract. Ms. Hildreth then reported on upcoming exhibits and provided an update on the Main Library signage-consulting contract. The City Librarian then reported that current circulation statistics showed an increase of 20% over the previous year. Ms. Hildreth reported to the Commissioners on the on-going work to develop a Library Strategic Plan as requested by Commissioner Swig. The City Librarian provided a memo (copy attached) outlining a proposed process leading to adoption of a new Strategic Plan in the Fall. Lastly, the City Librarian announced branch library related public meetings planned for February 12th in Glen Park and February 23rd in the Richmond (report attached.) President Higueras called for a brief recess at 5:57M Commission Streets left the meeting during the recess. The Commission returned to session at 6:07PM Public comment: An anonymous member of the public commented favorably about being informed of when the meeting would reconvene and was gratified to learn of the exhibit on the design charrette held in October. This person expressed a hope that equal time would be devoted to the Commission’s public planning process for the branch libraries. The anonymous member of the public commented that the cost of copying was too high in the library, that the Commission should take a close look at the Pinnacle Contract. This person also commented that circulation statistics had traditionally increased in hard times emphasizing the importance of providing basic public service. Mr. Ed Regan asked that the price of copies be reduced to 15 cents each and if needed the library should subsidize their cost. Mr. Regan commented that circulation statistics should not be taken too seriously and that he planned to attend the announced public meetings and offer comments. Mr. Peter Warfield observed that library copying costs were high and a source of negative patron comments about the library. Mr. Warfield commented that he found the memo on the Strategic Plan inaccurate. Mr. Warfield noted that he had requested forms related to strategic planning and not received any, that there was very little public discussion of the plan, that the Commission had rejected the previous version of the strategic plan, and that there was little opportunity for public input in the proposed process. Commission comment: In response to questions by President Higueras, the City Librarian reported that maintaining the current 15-cent per copy charge was a key negotiating factor in choosing the vendor for the copying contract. The City Librarian reported that free copies were no longer possible and in response to a question by Commission Bautista noted that the charges were the same at the Main Library and in the branches. President Higueras asked if there was any evidence that cheaper copies did anything to reduce material damage or theft. The City Librarian commented that getting a vendor who would meet the Library’s needs had been challenging. Ms. Hildreth observed that the Library already subsidized copies to some extent and that the new vendor would do cash handling as well as equipment maintenance. President Higueras commented that he was pleased that the strategic planning effort was underway and looked forward to it unfolding in a workman like fashion and without delay. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA ITEM #4 FRIENDS & FOUNDATION REPORT Ms. Cynthia Adam, Interim Executive Director of the Friends and Foundation announced the selection of Martin Gomez, currently Director of the Brooklyn Public Library, to assume the position of Executive Director of the Friends and Foundation on March 1, 2002. Ms. Adam then informed the Commissioners concerning Mr. Gomez’s long and distinguished career as a librarian. Public comment: Not offered. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA ITEM #5 LABOR UNION REPORT Not offered. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AGENDA ITEM #6 NEW BUSINESS Commissioner Bautista raised questions about what could be done to resolve graffiti problems defacing a mural located on the exterior of the Ortega Branch Library. In response to President Higueras’ comments on how to address problems with art works painted on branch libraries, the Deputy City Librarian discussed some of the general issues involved and noted similar problems with a mural at the Bernal Heights Branch Library. In response to questions by Commissioner Bautista concerning graffiti in Main Library elevators, Ms. Hildreth reported that a remedy should be in place by the end of the year. Commissioner Bautista also suggested more frequent cleaning of the Main Library 1st floor rest rooms. President Higueras requested an update on the proposed Customer Service Guideline suggested by former City Librarian Regina Minudri. Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood proposed to bring a customer service guidelines developed with staff input to the Commission for its review and consideration at an upcoming meeting. Public Comment: An anonymous member of the public called attention to a missing page from some copies of the agenda, noted that this item was to introduce items not discuss them, and commented that it was very important to discuss the issue of graffiti. This individual observed that damage to murals was unusual and that this discussion raised items that should be considered in greater depth. Mr. Ed Regan commented that he did not believe that graffiti was a big problem and that it should be able to be removed easily. Mr. Peter Warfield commented that all of the issues raised should be put on future agendas, suggested that a list of proposed agenda items be made. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Agenda item #7 PUBLIC COMMENT An anonymous member of the public spoke about the book The Ugly American and observed that the definition of "good people" was always arbitrary, that this person had always viewed themselves as a good person, and that they had been shocked when they discovered that they had not received the respect they expected from those running the library. Mr. Ed Regan suggested that Library public service hours be expanded from 6AM until Midnight 7 days per week, that the Main Library install a fire escape and manually operated elevators that could provide needed employment. Mr. Peter Warfield noted three comments, first that some copies of the agenda and explanatory documents available to the public were missing pages. Mr. Warfield next thanked the Commissioners for their discussion and votes on the budget, calling attention to Commissioner Coulter’s question about slowing computer system purchases. Mr. Warfield then asked about public input concerning the ILS (Integrated Library System) contract, if this process was in compliance with the Sunshine Ordinance, and called for a discussion of the contract to be placed on a meeting agenda. President Higueras called Mr. Regan’s attention to the life safety design features that were mandated when the Main Library was built. President Higueras further informed Mr. Regan that the State Elevator Code precluded manually operated elevators. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Agenda Item #8 ADJOURNMENT Commissioner Coulter reported that Ms. Stong had passed away on January 18, 2002 and lauded her decades of dedicated and skillful civic leadership on behalf of the public library. Commissioner Coulter called attention to Ms. Stong’s years of heroic behind the scenes work for California’s libraries beginning during her childhood in Porterville, California. Commissioner Coulter noted that after her graduation from Stanford University she began more than 45 years of hard work defending libraries. Commissioner Coulter cited many stories of Ms. Stong’s work that saved book budgets, guaranteed secure funding for the San Francisco Public Library, and raised the condition of public libraries throughout California. Commissioner Chin noted that Ms. Stong provided an excellent example of selfless leadership. Public Comment: An anonymous member of the public commented that Ms. Stong had been a stalwart for the library, noting that Ms. Stong had served as a Library Commissioner, that she had regularly attended Library Commission meetings for years before she became a Commissioner, and that she had been a great lover of books. Commission Comment: Motion: by Commissioner Coulter, seconded by Commissioner Chin that the meeting be adjourned In Memoriam of Mary Louise Stong, an esteemed civic and community leader on behalf of the San Francisco Public Library. Action: AYE 4-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, and Higueras) The meeting was adjourned at 6:54PM. Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 3/6/02 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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. The number of members of the public who spoke anonymously at this meeting: 1 2/5/02 City Librarian Report Mentioned that key subjects of discussion at ALA Mid-Winter in New Orleans were the USA Patriot Act, which may present conflicts with priorities of user confidentiality, and incoming President Mitch Freedman’s taskforce on library staff salary equity. Mentioned that Pinnacle is new provider for networked printers and copies in Main and branches. Successful respondent to RFP issued when IKON, vendor for several years. Did not wish to renew their contract with the Library. Highlighted upcoming exhibits - the Charrette exhibit in the 6th floor gallery from February 21 – April 25, the SPUR exhibit in the Stegner Center on the 5th floor from February 5 – May 15, focusing on SPUR’s publication Vision of a Place; Unique Handmade Books on display from February 5 – March 16 in the 6th floor gallery; and Portraits and Visions: 20th Century African American Writers from March 10 – April 28 in the Jewett Gallery Reported that Kate Keating Associates, a San Francisco firm, has been selected as the Main Library signage consultant. Experience includes signage design at City Hall, library signage design for the new Santa Clara City Library and branch renovations in the Seattle Public Library. Current circulation statistics have increased – December was up 20% from previous year and January’s preliminary report shows a 19% increase over previous year. Reviewed very preliminary plans for new strategic planning process, (memo attached). Announced upcoming public meetings on February 12th regarding the Glen Park Branch Library at the Glen Park Recreation Center at 8pm and on February 23rd regarding the Richmond Branch Library at the branch, 351 9th Ave., at 2pm.
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