Library Commission Minutes - November 7, 2001

Minutes of the regular meeting of Wednesday, November 7, 2001. (As approved amended Dec. 4, 2001) The San Francisco Public Library Commission held its regular meeting on Wednesday, November 7, 2001 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library. The meeting was called to order at 4:09PM by Vice President Steiman. The following members were noted present: Commissioners Bautista, Coulter, Steiman, Streets, and Swig. Commissioners Chin and Higueras were noted excused attendance. AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF OCTOBER 2, 2001 Public comment on AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF OCTOBER 2, 2001. An anonymous member of the public commented favorably on the reporting of remarks attributed to President Higueras on page 9 that the Friends and Foundation charrette was a promotional event distinct from the Commission’s role in overseeing construction of branch libraries and on Page 12 that the charrette was the kick off for the capital campaign for the branches rather than a formal planning event. This anonymous member of the public expressed the view that comments in the Minutes by members of the public were not as fully reported citing comments on the Approval of the Minutes and Adjournment agenda items attributed to the anonymous member of the public. Mr. Peter Warfield found parts of the Minutes improved but criticized reporting of his page 1 comments on approval of the Minutes related to comments attributed to Dallas Shaffer and David Binder and his page 3 comments suggesting that the agreement for the Mission Bay Branch Library gave staff a blank check to develop this branch without Commission approval or public input. Mr. Warfield expressed regret that the agenda mailing had not included a copy of the term sheet outline which made it difficult to understand the comments related to it. Mr. Warfield also noted that there was no mention in the page 6 report on the City Librarian’s Report concerning the new catalog nor any mention of his comments concerning the new catalog. Mr. Warfield further noted that comments concerning a page 8 report that damage was occurring to tables from ordinary use were also not included. Mr. Warfield also commented that a page 11 report did not include his comments concerning a lack of information about days and times or agenda for the charrette and that a page 12 report inaccurately reported his reference to someone else’s remarks concerning the availability of other means of finding furniture. Commission comment on AGENDA ITEM #1 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF OCTOBER 2, 2001. The Commission Secretary observed that members of the public who wished to comment on or amend their reported public comment on an item could do so by submitting a public comment summary statement as authorized by the Sunshine Ordinance. MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Coulter for approval of the Minutes of October 4, 2001. ACTION: AYE 5-0 (Bautista, Coulter, Steiman, Streets, and Swig) Please note: Copies of Commission Minutes and handouts are available in the Office of the Commission Secretary, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 AGENDA ITEM #2 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF OCTOBER 10, 2001 Vice President Steiman continued this item until the next meeting of the Commission. AGENDA ITEM #3 CITY LIBRARIAN"S REPORT City Librarian Susan Hildreth introduced the new Deputy City Librarian Paul Underwood and briefed the Commissioners on his distinguished career in library service. Ms Hildreth next provided the Commission with an update report on work being done at the Visitacion Valley Branch Library. In response to a query by Commissioner Bautista at the previous Commission meeting, the City Librarian outlined the measures she had undertaken to increase security at the Main Library giving special attention to increased security in the lading dock area, Brooks Hall, the Main Library Mail Room, and to increase security awareness among library staff. Ms. Hildreth noted in connection to the increased security awareness that new rules concerning limitations on patrons bringing carts and large packages and bags into the library had been posted. Ms. Hildreth next discussed several enhancements being made to the new Ocean View Branch Library with remaining available funds including upgrades to its public art work, a flushometer, an electric door, and an additional security camera. The City Librarian then outlined recent LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) grants which the Library had received. Finally Ms. Hildreth informed the Commissioners, that Dale Carlson, former Library Commissioner and current President of the Friends and Foundation of the San Francisco Public Library had be selected as the California Library Association (CLA) President’s Award winner for 2001 in recognition of his service to and leadership in behalf of the San Francisco Public Library. PUBLIC COMMENT ON AGENDA ITEM #3 CITY LIBRARIAN’S REPORT An anonymous member of the public expressed concern with the funds being spent on the Visitacion Valley Branch Library, a rental facility, and queried as to the amount and source of these funds. This individual further noted that the policy on packages could be as controversial as the Patron Conduct Policy and wondered if homeless individuals might be subjected to greater scrutiny than ladies with large purses. Finally, the anonymous member of the public wondered about the flushometer. Mr. Peter Warfield welcomed the new Deputy City Librarian and expressed a hope that he would work to improve public service. Mr. Warfield further expressed thanks to the Commissioner who had suggested amending the Minutes to reflect changes he had requested and challenged the accuracy of the Commission Secretary’s observation concerning these comments. COMMISSION COMMENT ON AGENDA ITEM #3 CITY LIBRARIAN"S REPORT Commissioner Bautista inquired about and was informed by the City Librarian concerning the steps that that Library had undertaken to safeguard its rare book collections in the event of an emergency. Commissioner Coulter expressed happiness at Mr. Carlson’s selection as this year’s winner of the CLA President’s Award and commented on his extensive record of support for and service to the San Francisco Public Library. Commissioner Coulter suggested that the Commission consider adopting a resolution commending Mr. Carlson for his contributions. In response to questions by Commissioner Streets, the City Librarian discussed in detail how budget resources had been reallocated to cover the increased security efforts rather than the creation of any new positions. Vice President Steiman noted while the Commission had heard many reports concerning the need for work at the Visitacion Valley Branch additional background would be helpful. Ms. Hildreth then discussed in greater detail the need for undertaking in particular the electrical upgrades required to make this rented branch location function properly until it is replaced as planned with a new facility by the branch library bond program. AGENDA ITEM #4 LIBRARY BUDGET PLANNING REPORT Library Finance Director George Nichols presented a very detailed outline of the situation facing the Library during the remainder of this fiscal year in light of the Controller’s and Mayor’s Budget Office instructions to consider reductions in General Fund related expenditures given the current economic climate and expected downturn in city revenues. Mr. Nichols noted that the Board of Supervisors Finance Committee would be addressing these matters at its meeting taking place simultaneously with the Commission meeting and would be expected to consider changes in city spending to address any projected budget deficits. The Library Finance Director reported the Mayor and the Controller currently expected a revenue shortfall of $61 to $100 million in this fiscal year and had directed that the Library reduce its General Fund expenditures by $1.1 to $2 million to meet its share of the funding shortfall. Mr. Nichols informed the Commission that Library Administration was able to make up the lesser amount of the proposed cuts without reductions to public service or the book budget through use of accrued salary savings due to attrition and minor spending reductions. The Finance Director noted however, that should larger reductions be required, some capital projects could be slowed or delayed to free additional funds to bridge the loss of revenue. Mr. Nichols next discussed in detail specific amounts and projects that could be delayed or reduced to produce the additional amounts needed. Mr. Nichols then provided the Commissioners with an extensive overview of the framework and initial figures for the proposed 2002/2003 Library Budget. The Library Finance Director discussed the difficulties involved in projecting revenues for the next fiscal year due to economic uncertainties but suggested that it was likely that the Library would ultimately have no significant change in expected revenues from the current adjusted year levels due to the unique nature of the funding available to the Library under Prop. E (Library Preservation Fund) including the $1.1 reduction which he had just discussed. Mr. Nichols identified $53, 617,000 as revenues expected and $51, 007,906 as projected expenditures for FY 2002/2003. Mr. Nichols expected to have a budget reserve of $2.6 million or 5.2% of the proposed budget available above expected expenditures. The Library Finance Director discussed various one time costs such as the Tool Lending Center, $883,000 in one time capital project expenses related to the branch library telephone system and deferred maintenance costs that could be saved in the next budget. Mr. Nichols then reported on the likely impact of various salary adjustments, and FTE (full time equivalent) adjustments, and inter-departmental work orders. The Library Finance Director outlined the first steps in budget planning in noting that 54 Budget Change proposals were submitted by staff and outlined some of those under active consideration. Mr. Nichols noted that many of the proposals submitted could be seen as a wish list but that they each represented identified real needs that could improve library services. Mr. Nichols identified priority items as funding for the new integrated library system (ILS), continuing to fund branch library maintenance, funds for networks and terminals for the ILS system, creation of a .5 Librarian II position for the proposed new Mission Bay Branch Library, converting some Project Read positions to library positions, and copying and printing costs formerly covered by the Ikon contract. Other items Mr. Nichols called attention to included funding for reproducing library materials and continued upgrade of the branch library phone system. In order to achieve some savings to pay for some of these proposals Mr. Nichols proposed that the ILS (integrated library system) be purchased on a lease/purchase arrangement. The Library Finance Director recommended that the Library take a very prudent stance in order to anticipate a continued troubled economic outlook and thus postpone if not avoid all together having to make any reductions in ongoing programs or any public services. Mr. Nichols urged the Commissioners to review the materials presented for discussion. The Library Finance Director noted that he would provide updated information on the changing revenue outlook and solicit Commission comments on the staff’s recommended budget proposals at the December Commission meeting before presenting a budget package for adoption at the January Commission meeting. Public comment on Agenda Item #4 LIBRARY BUDGET PLANNING REPORT Mr. Peter Warfield expressed happiness that there was no proposal to reduce the book budget, but expressed concern at the proposed reduction of expenditures on ergonomic equipment and supplies. Mr. Warfield noted the potential for injury and discomfort of patrons and staff and inquired as to whom these reductions might effect. Mr. Warfield also asked concerning the effect of the proposed salary savings on public service. Mr. Ed Regan commented that the Commission go easy on converting branches in rental locations to new city owned facilities. Ms. Melissa Riley, Librarian’s Guild, inquired concerning the nature of the .5 Librarian II position proposed for the new Mission Bay Branch Library and was informed by the City Librarian that these were planning positions. COMMISSION COMMENT ON AGENDA ITEM #4 LIBRARY BUDGET PLANNING REPORT In response to questions by Commissioner Streets and Vice President Steiman concerning the 14 positions created in this year’s budget, Mr. Nichols explained that all of the positions in the current budget were in process of being filled and that there was no proposal to hold positions vacant to create savings. He additionally explained that excess salary savings amounts are generated by the very nature of the re-assignment process mandated for the Library to use. Mr. Nichols further noted that the budgets for fringe benefits are set by the Controller and are not within the Library’s control. The Library’s Finance Director suggested that this was an area where negotiation to address the amounts calculated should be pursued. In response to a question by Commissioner Streets, Mr. Nichols confirmed that the General Fund dollars remaining in the Ocean View Branch Library Project account must be returned to the General Fund and that under normal circumstances there might not have been pressure to do so, but given current circumstances returning these funds was the best way to minimize any likely impact on public services. In response to another query by Commissioner Streets, Mr. Nichols discussed the timeline for expiration and negotiation of the Library’s labor contracts noting that there should be little impact on the current budget and only partial impact in the next budget. He also informed Commissioner Streets that the Library continued to pursue grant funding to improve computer equipment. The Library Finance Director also informed Commissioner Streets that while the Mayor and the Controller were monitoring expenditures it was as yet unknown if the Board of Supervisors might mandate reductions. He then discussed the process used to monitor ongoing expenditures. Commissioner Streets requested that the timeline and additional information concerning preparation of the 2002/2003 Library Budget be made available to the Commissioners in sufficient time for them to study the materials and formulate their responses and questions. In response to a query by Vice President Steiman, Mr. Nichols noted that there was little difference in the cost of the ILS between purchase and the proposed lease/purchase approach. Mr. Nichols further informed Vice President Steiman concerning plans for branch library electrical upgrades in view of the bond program. In answer to a question by Commissioner Swig, both Mr. Nichols and the City Librarian discussed the situation involved with the funding for the Tool Lending Center and indicated that they did not propose to fund it from Library funds again this year but indicated that decision had been made by the Mayor’s Budget Office. Vice President Steiman expressed admiration for the good work of the program but hoped that it would be funded from other sources in the future. In answer to questions by Commissioner Bautista, Mr. Nichols explained about how staff training funding was used and how staff input from each library department was gathered in the Budget Change Concept (BCC) proposal process and proposed to send her copies of all of the submissions for her review. The Library Finance Director proposed to provide more details of each of the identified priorities for the Commissioners’ review and consideration prior to the December meeting. Copies of Public Comment Summary Statements as authorized by San Francisco Administrative Code Section 67.16 can be found in Appendix A. These summary statements are provided by the speaker and their contents are neither generated by, nor subject to approval or verification of accuracy by, the San Francisco Public Library Commission. AGENDA ITEM #5 BRANCH LIBRARY BOND COMMITTEE PUBLIC COMMENT ON AGENDA ITEM #5 BRANCH LIBRARY BOND COMMITTEE An anonymous member of the public commented on the discussion concerning the Branch Library Bond Committee at the October 10th Commission meeting which in this individual’s view centered on the private sacrifices that Commissioners must make when they accept a public role. The anonymous member of the public noted that this is a situation that faces every local agency in California. The anonymous member of the public found that the Commission’s proposal (to eliminate its Committee) to address bond related matters at the full Commission a shame and spoke volumes about the issues involved. This individual commented that several Commissioners had complained that they were unable to attend the planning charrette held by a private organization and that it was the purpose of the law that the Commission undertake its own deliberations and planning and generate excitement and interest in its plans. This person noted that the challenge to the Commission was to bring these matters before them rather than surrendering them to what appeared to be a staff committee. Mr. Peter Warfield expressed disappointment that there was no presentation of matters related to this committee. Mr. Warfield observed that it was important that the Commission maintain strong oversight over the bond process. Mr. Warfield recalled that previous discussion by the Commission had proposed that the Commission act as a Committee of the Whole to address bond related matters at a regularly scheduled second meeting each month. Mr. Warfield expressed concern that the Commission was acting to eliminate this subcommittee without creating a replacement Committee of the Whole or setting a schedule of meetings to address these matters. Mr. Warfield noted that the bond program was a major $106 million long range project taking many years and requiring strong oversight and that the Commission should take formal action to create a Committee of the Whole and set a schedule of regular meetings. COMMISSION COMMENT ON AGENDA ITEM #5 BRANCH LIBRARY BOND PROGRAM REPORT Commissioner Bautista noted that the Commission had thoroughly discussed this matter and it was clear that the Committee was unworkable as the way to oversee the bond program. MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Coulter that the Ad Hoc Branch Library Bond Committee be abolished. ACTION: AYE 5-0 (Bautista, Coulter, Steiman, Streets, and Swig) AGENDA ITEM #6 REPORT INTERNET LEGISLATION REPORT City Librarian Susan Hildreth brought the Commissioners up to date on recent developments regarding the filtering of the Library’s public access computers and provided them with details of the recently enacted city ordinance authored by Supervisor Mark Leno. The City Librarian reported that the new ordinance forbids the filtering of the Library’s public access computers except that it leaves to the discretion of the Library Commission whether to address the issue of filtering Internet access on the Main Library Children’s Center computers and those computers designated for children under the age of 13 in branch libraries. Ms. Hildreth then introduced respected national expert on Internet filtering issues Librarian Karen Schneider for a presentation. Ms. Schneider spoke about her extensive professional background as a manager of the Librarian’s Index to the Internet and as librarian and author involved in addressing Internet access issues. Ms. Schneider discussed in detail the various methods used in filtering access to Internet sites identifying the problems and difficulties inherent in such efforts. Ms. Schneider called attention to the very significant 1st Amendment issues involved in limiting Internet access and discussed in some detail the very subjective nature of how access-blocking decisions are made by private firms that insist on keeping secret the lists of sites they decide to block. Ms. Schneider spoke extensively about the findings of the Internet Filtering Assessment Project that determined that no filtering system worked well and all had serious accountability problems often resulting from hidden agendas. Ms. Schneider noted that there was often no rationale offered for why something cannot be seen; about who made the decisions on what to block; why access would be denied on the Internet but would never be denied in other formats such as books; and finally whether there exists any real problem of significant inappropriate access to problematic Internet sites by children at public libraries. Ms. Schneider suggested that there were a number of ways that could be more effectively used to address any perceived problem such as: providing pro-active guidance on computers dedicated to children’s use; drafting policies which address inappropriate behavior; and often simply locating or grouping children’s access computers in highly visible central locations. Ms. Schneider commented that in her experience children primarily sought out appropriate resources, and that children tended to be most conformable congregating in children’s areas often sharing use of a terminal as they did their work. She observed that while there might be some thrill seeking/rile the librarian behavior that children do not represent a major problem of Internet misuse. PUBLIC COMMENT ON AGENDA ITEM #6 INTERNET LEGISLATION REPORT An anonymous member of the public noted the importance of the presenter’s remark that if no one sees what you do then know one will know. The anonymous member of the public noted that this was a national issue and the Commission was addressing this issue in response to the Board of Supervisors adopting a policy in response to the federal Children’s Internet Protection Act, that threatened loss of federal funds unless computers were filtered. This person inquired if the language of the amended version of the ordinance exposed the Library to a loss of funds. This individual further commented that children have 1st Amendment rights as well, that this issue was not about someone encountering objectionable material on the Internet, and that if you restrict children’s access you could create restricted people living in a fantasy world. This person observed that as a child taking advantage of access to information that maybe parents would have denied encouraged natural curiosity and encouraged greater intellectual growth. Mr. Peter Warfield wondered if such a presentation had been made to the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Warfield observed that the points raised were useful and showed why filtering does not work. Mr. Warfield further commented that there were other issues more problematic in this regard. Mr. Warfield suggested that a proposed interfiling of children’s and adult materials in some branch libraries could lead to a potential problem with intermixing adult and children users making identifying which computers are primarily for children’s use more difficult. Mr. Warfield additionally noted that identifying which computers would be covered by this ordinance would be difficult as use of the libraries changed on different days and at different times. Mr. Warfield commented that the terms of the Gates Grant that provided the Library with a great number of personal computers on condition that they be unmediated and filtering could create a conflict with the terms of the grant. Mr. Warfield recounted a presentation that he had heard at an American Library Association meeting in which the presenter suggested that librarians did not filter the Internet but merely selected the information made available as they did with all of the other information in the library. Ms. Melissa Riley, the Librarian’s Guild reported the Guild’s efforts at the Board of Supervisors in support of the Library’s opposition to Internet filtering based on their support for the ALA Library Bill of Rights, the ALA Code of Ethics, and the San Francisco Public Library’s Mission Statement. Ms. Riley noted the great importance of upholding the right to free access to information. COMMISSION COMMENT ON AGENDA ITEM #6 INTERNET LEGISLATION REPORT The City Librarian noted that in fact the Gates Grant was specifically and deliberately silent on the issue of Internet filtering and the reference to unmediated access meant that they had to be used for public access rather that use at a reference desk or for staff use. Ms. Hildreth noted that the terms of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) required filtering of all library computers and that the Board of Supervisor’s decision effectively meant that the Library would not comply with the requirements of CIPA whatever was decided to do involving the children’s computers. Commissioner Coulter congratulated the presenter on an excellent presentation and agreed with Ms. Riley’s comments. He suggested that the evidence seemed to indicate that there was not a real problem with inappropriate access with few complaints. The City Librarian reported receiving few complaints and that by the far the bigger complaint was inadequate access due to a lack of enough computers. Ms. Hildreth reminded the Commissioners of a study of the Library’s Children’s Center computers done concerning this issue which found fewer that 1% of sites accessed could be deemed inappropriate. The City Librarian noted that further studies of the specific sites accessed seemed to indicate that the majority of visits to those sites seemed the result of common misspelling of the names of frequently accessed sites. Commissioner Coulter expressed appreciation that the Board of Supervisors had left the decision relating to the children’s computers to the discretion of the Commission and suggested he saw little evidence of any need to change the Library’s policy on this issue. In response to a question by Vice President Steiman, Ms. Schneider provided more background on various filtering options, but concluded that they are poor products and all of them can be got around by anyone with modest computing skills. Ms. Schneider then discussed the reality that all of the resources of the library are available to children and that the best way to respond to questions about computer access is to structure guided access. In response to a question, why not filter, posed by Vice President Steiman, Ms. Schneider noted that questions quickly arise such as: who is a child; about making presumptive judgements about what individual parents may want for their children; about the random effectiveness of filters, about the ethical issues raised of conditioning children to a censored environment, about the simple fact that children already have many points of access to the Internet, and finally that filters create a false sense of security. Ms. Schneider noted that education about how to properly use the Internet was an important element. In response to a question regarding what is done when a child is found accessing inappropriate Internet sites, the City Librarian noted at if complaints are made to a librarian about Internet viewing by any patron either adult or child that the librarian could ask the patron to go to another site. Ms. Hildreth noted that particularly in the branches there were computers available with privacy screens so that those who wished to access sensitive sites could do so in privacy. In response to a question by Vice President Steiman, Ms. Hildreth reported that when children’s library cards are issued parents are provided with written materials concerning their children’s use of the library. Toni Bernardi, Library Children’s Services Coordinator, reported that there are two specific handouts provided; one to children discussing Internet safety, and one for parents which discusses the advantages/concerns with the Internet, informs them of the Library’s open access policy, and urges parents to become involved with their child’s use of the library. Ms. Bernardi also noted that the Library’s Children’s Center computers are set up to guide children to recommended sites. Ms. Bernardi also discussed the findings of the study concerning inappropriate access on Children’s Center computers reporting that the evidence indicated that there was not a problem. She noted that children’s use of the computer was very social and that context did not favor such inappropriate uses. Ms. Bernardi concluded that while this might be perceived to be a problem it did not seem to be an actual one. Copies of Public Comment Summary Statements as authorized by San Francisco Administrative Code Section 67.16 can be found in Appendix A. These summary statements are provided by the speaker and their contents are neither generated by, nor subject to approval or verification of accuracy by, the San Francisco Public Library Commission. AGENDA ITEM #7 POE UPDATE REPORT City Librarian Susan Hildreth provided the Commissioners with an update on the Main Library improvements proposed in response to the Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) Report. The City Librarian reported that she would discuss in greater detail aspects of the timeline for POE related projects and a report identifying specific costs related to specific POE recommendations at the December meeting of the Commission when President Higueras who had requested this information could be present. Ms. Hildreth noted that library staff had identified 19 specific projects with a total cost of $9.4 million rather than the $28 million figure which had been discussed as the possible cost of doing all of the proposed modifications called out in the POE. Of this amount Ms. Hildreth observed nearly half was allocated to improvements to Brooks Hall and only about $5 million for projects in the Main Library. She reported that Simon Martin Vegue Winkelstein Moris, architects of the Main Library had agreed to serve pro bono as design consultants on proposed Main Library improvements. The City Librarian then introduced Kathy Lawhun, Chief of the Main Library for a presentation on proposed modifications to the 1st Floor Borrower’s Services area. Ms. Lawhun described how a staff committee of six 1st Floor staff members, originally chaired by former Chief of the Main Ned Himmel, assisted by Phil Sowers of the Bureau of Architecture had developed proposed solutions to POE related issues during a year long process. Ms. Lawhun identified the POE recommendations to be addressed as: #4 to combine the check in/check out desk to better utilize staff and serve the public: #8 to restructure the entry sequence on both the 1st and 2nd Floors to make it less confusing and relate the Information Desk so it is more visible and accessible to patrons; # 13 to improve the rate of return of materials to the shelves by relocating the Sorting Room adjacent to the materials return desk and improve the book drops. Ms. Lawhun reported that the proposed response to these recommendations was to suggest reconfiguring the Borrowers’ Services public area. The registration/checkout/check-in functions would be combined and relocated further into the atrium for greater visibility. An express return area would be created where the registration/library card desk is presently located, and an express check out area would be created in a prominent location. A corner would be removed from the 2nd Floor stairway to allow for expansion of check-in/checkout, and a redesigned Information Desk would be relocated to the present checkout location. A new acquisitions area would be created in the area presently behind the checkout area so patrons will see books and library materials when they first enter the building. The security gates would be located further into the curved area of the atrium to allow a clear view of the public services area and to reduce a tripping hazard. Ms. Lawhun continued that the staff task force additionally recommended relocating the Sorting Room to the 1st Floor and creation of a new efficient sorting area adjacent to where materials are returned. Involved in this move would be opening an elevator entry into a redesigned staff work area in that part of the 1st Floor. Ms. Lawhun noted that the guiding motivation underlying these proposed changes was improved public services. She noted that the relocated service desks would be both more visible and reduce the need for patrons to wait in line. The Chief of the Main reported that these changes would facilitate faster return of materials to the shelves for patrons to borrow. She noted that the redesigned desks would include features that would also serve to improve staff efficiency. Ms. Lawhun noted that these proposed improvements would allow Borrowers’ Services staff more varied duties, reduce time lost by consolidating now separated functions, reduce the number of times books and materials are handled and eliminate the need to use a conveyor system that sometimes damaged materials, and improved workflow would result from having the more efficiently designed sorting function next to the materials return area. The Chief of the Main also pointed out redesigned desks could resolve a number of on-going ergonomic problems as well. Ms. Lawhun showed the Commissioners drawings of both the existing and proposed redesigned 1st Floor areas and identified the location of each of the previously described improvements on the drawing. The Chief of the Main indicated that further development of these proposal would continue into January 2002 followed by a more detailed design phase by Mr. Sowers in February 2002 until August 2002, with possible construction beginning in November 2002 through April 2003. Ms. Lawhun highlighted the proposed increase of express checkout stations from 1 to 4 including the availability of express checkout of video materials. Additionally, she pointed out that express return area counters would include identified ergonomically designed sorting bins to facilitate patron self-sorting of materials and simplify staff handling of materials. Ms. Lawhun responded to Vice President Steiman’s query concerning how to do this extensive redesign and relocation work with minimal disruption to patron service by outlining the preliminary staged planning being developed by staff. She further commented that placing express checkout machines on various floors and temporarily using various paging desks throughout the building for checkout could serve to maintain services during the actual 1st Floor reconfiguration process. The Chief of the Main also noted that the work could be done on a swing shift basis to minimize impact during the busiest times of the day. The City Librarian noted that flexibility of design was a major consideration in these changes to allow for future changes as needed. Vice President Steiman called for a brief recess at 7:03 PM Commissioner Streets left the meeting during the recess. The Commission returned to session at 7:08 PM PUBLIC COMMENT ON AGENDA ITEM #7 POE UPDATE REPORT None offered. COMMISSION COMMENT ON AGENDA ITEM #7 POE UPDATE REPORT Commissioner Coulter expressed happiness that SMWM, with their strong attachment to maintaining the beauty of the building, had agreed to advise the staff on the proposed design changes to maintain the integrity of the building’s design and commented that the staff seemed to have engaged in a careful and thoughtful effort to make the needed improvements. Commissioner Coulter suggested that making the express checkout available throughout the building might be something the Library would want to continue. In response to a question by Commissioner Swig regarding the potential to reduce need for staffing in Borrowers’ Services, Ms. Lawhun indicated that their wouldn’t be a reduction in staff as a result of these changes but neither would their be any need for increased staffing. Vice President Steiman commented that these changes would make providing services both easier for the staff and better for the public. In response to a question by Commissioner Bautista, Ms. Lawhun noted that the proposed location for the new acquisitions area was largely unused at present. The City Librarian called attention to the additional potential impact on the Main Library’s 1st Floor design of the likely relocation of Technical Services which would then provide increased space for audiovisual materials and allow bring down of the fiction collection from the 3rd Floor. In response to a question regarding efforts to dampen noise levels in the atrium by Commissioner Bautista, Mr. Sowers described some of the steps being considered to resolve those problems. Commissioner Coulter pointed out that it was very important to clearly understand that the POE Report described a variety of proposed alternative responses to a number of perceived problems for the Library’s consideration which in total had a $28 million price tag, but that amount only reflected the choice to undertake all of the possible alternative choices offer in the report. Vice President Steiman observed that action would be taken on various part of the POE report over time and that these issues would certainly continue to be extensively discussed as the available choices were considered. AGENDA ITEM #8 FRIENDS & FOUNDATION REPORT Ms. Cynthia Adam, Interim Executive Director of the Friends and Foundation of the San Francisco Public Library, provided the Commissioners with a report on recent Friends and Foundation activities. Among the items reported were: an announcement that the results of the charrette would be posted on the Friends and Foundation website in January; that book sales were returning to their pre-September 11th levels; that the Fall lectures series was continuing with excellent attendance; and the Friends and Foundation Board was continuing in its search process to select a permanent Executive Director. AGENDA ITEM #9 UNION REPORT None offered AGENDA ITEM # 10 NEW BUSINESS No items were proposed. Agenda item #11 PUBLIC COMMENT An anonymous member of the public commented the Minutes had missed the point of a previous public comment about the Commission discontinuing reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at Commission meetings (in 1988) despite that fact that this was the practice of the Board of Supervisors and other city commissions without public comment. The anonymous member of the public suggested that this was done because: it is done by everyone at every level of society from the Board of Supervisors to kindergartens and everything in between beginning this way; that the pledge contains words about Liberty and Justice for all reminding us that we are equal and destroying the Commission’s pretension to aristocracy; and that reciting the words of the pledge together facing the symbol of our country made maintaining aristocracy difficult. This individual suggested that had this issue been discussed some might have persuaded the Commission that this was a valuable tradition which safeguarded the public decision making process that made the symbols of our democracy like the flag and the Pledge of Allegiance more than just symbols. This person observed that it is that process which destroys pretensions to aristocracy and makes us all equal, the foundation of our country. This individual suggested that that is why we had such traditions. Mr. Ed Regan echoed the remarks of the previous speaker and requested expansion of Library public service hours from 6AM until Midnight, every day of the year. Mr. Peter Warfield criticized the Commissioners for not notifying the public when the meeting resumed thus depriving individuals of an opportunity to comment. Mr. Warfield expressed concern that the listing of POE recommendations did not fully inform the public about a recommendation. Mr. Warfield expressed a view held by many interested in the Library that the POE was about increasing the capacity of the Main Library. Mr. Warfield observed that there were a number of recommendations related to increasing capacity but that he found no listing regarding the amount of additional capacity to be created. Mr. Warfield expressed a preference that there be specific references back to specific pages and recommendations in the POE be given in such presentations. Mr. Warfield found no reference, except to Technical Services, to services leaving the building in the report. Mr. Warfield noted that his previous comments calling for corrections in the Minutes reflected his wish that the Commissioners would make their Minutes as accurate as possible. Agenda Item #12 ADJOURNMENT MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, seconded by Commissioner Coulter that the meeting be adjourned Public comment on Agenda item #12 ADJOURNMENT None offered ACTION: AYE 4-0 (Bautista, Coulter, Steiman, and Swig) The meeting was adjourned at 7:25PM. Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 12/5/01 The number of members of the public who spoke anonymously at this meeting. 1 Please note: Copies of Commission Minutes and handouts are available in the Office of the Commission Secretary, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 Copies of Public Comment Summary Statements as authorized by San Francisco Administrative Code Section 67.16 can be found in Appendix A. These summary statements are provided by the speaker and their contents are neither generated by, nor subject to approval or verification of accuracy by, the San Francisco Public Library Commission. Minutes of the regular Commission Meeting of November 7, 2001 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
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