Library Commission Minutes - September 15, 2005


Minutes of the regular meeting of Thursday, September 15, 2005.
(As approved October 20, 2005)

The San Francisco Public Library Commission held a regular meeting on Thursday, September 15, 2005 in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.

The meeting was called to order by President Higueras at 4:09 pm.

Commissioners present: Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, Kane, and Strobin.

A quorum was present


An anonymous member of the public: spoke in opposition to the Friends of the Library, wondered at the significance of Deputy City Attorney Varah’s presence, and commented on Library Commission history.

Ms. Rona Sammler, Friends of the Library Board member: called attention to the support provided for Library programs and services by the Friends of the Library; and reminded everyone to attend the Friends annual “Big Book Sale” benefiting the Library.

Mr. Peter Warfield spoke about: the Library’s recent formal receipt of Proposition 14 (Sate Library Bond Act) funds for the Richmond and Ingleside Branch Libraries; and noted the importance to the general welfare of public libraries as public spaces.

Ms. Donna Bero, Friends of the Library Executive Director: reported California’s State Treasurer Phil Angelides presided at the ceremonial transfer of the Prop. 14 grant funds at the Richmond Branch Library and that State Assemblyman Leno and District 1 Supervisor Jake McGoldrick and students from the neighboring McCoppin School participated in the festivities. Ms. Bero reported on assistance that the Friends were providing to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Ms. Bero also invited everyone to attend the 2005 Big Book Sale” beginning Wednesday September 30 through Sunday October 2nd at Fort Mason.



An anonymous member of the public commented: that these minutes were distorted and misrepresented statements made; and noted that reasons why the “Public Comment Fund” had been created were not reported, nor were Commissioners’ remarks about making contributions to the “Public Comment” Fund.

Mr. Peter Warfield: said his comments in these Minutes were inaccurately reported, citing his reported comments regarding Library use of RFID, and said other speakers, including the Deputy City Attorney, were not accurately reflected as well. Mr. Warfield noted that members of the public had not been invited to attend an “open House” held at the Library Support Services Center at 190-9th Street reported on by the City Librarian and suggested public tours be arranged.

Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #2 APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF AUGUST 18, 2005

Vice President Coulter suggested that the minutes be amended to reflect Mr. Warfield’s assertion that he had not said as reported that “all Library use of RFID was bad” to read “not all Library use of RFID was bad“.

MOTION: by Commissioner Chin, 2nd Commissioner Strobin for approval of the Minutes of the regular Public Library Commission meeting of August 18, 2005 as amended.

ACTION: 6-0 AYE (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, Kane, and Strobin)


Branch Library Improvement Program Manager Marilyn Thompson presented her usual three part monthly reports on: BLIP Schedule; Budget; and Construction Reports,

(copies attached). Ms. Thompson reported expenditure or encumbrance of $34,614,198 in Bond Program Funds as of this month.

The BLIP Program Administrator noted there would be no informational report presented this month. Ms. Thompson then presented details of the staff’s response to the Portola Branch Library and the Potrero Branch Library Peer Review noting changes made or explaining why some recommendations of the Peer Panelists were not accepted.

Commissioner Gomez joined the meeting at 4:56pm.


An anonymous member of the public spoke about: the improved readability of BLIP Report documents; concerning their difficulty in identifying what was pictured in Report; discussed the Library’s response to a neighbor’s about a BLIP project positing creation of a “construction complaints” fund; and noted their attendance at the Richmond Branch event..

Ms. Jane Fahey, a regular Potrero Branch Library user, expressed: happiness at the renovation of the Branch; and discussed the importance of addressing ergonomic issues for Library staff during renovations.

Mr. Peter Warfield commented that the Report documents were difficult to read; noted a lack of labels on the photographs presented; recommended that the report be expanded and the Peer Panelist come back to react to the staff response; and urged that the Commissioners not make decisions without more detailed information.

Mr. Chet Roaman, Potrero Branch Library Representative on the Council of Neighborhood Libraries (CNL) noted: the revised design was an improvement; but there was need for more space in the Branch suggesting need for additional modifications.

Commission discussion of AGENDA ITEM #3 BLIP MANAGER’S REPORT

President Higueras suggested use of descriptive captions with any photographs presented in future reports.

Vice President Coulter applauded improvements in the proposed design of the Portola Branch Library and noted that his suggestion concerning use of flag poles was as a means to distinguish the new facility’s civic function in the largely residential neighborhood, and that it would be useful if every branch had such distinguishing flag poles. In response to Vice President Coulter’s query regarding the status of the relocation of the City College Preschool Program using space at the Bernal Heights Branch Library, City Librarian Herrera reported that the Preschool would relocate to space in the neighboring Paul Revere Elementary School. The City Librarian noted that serious and active negotiations were underway between the San Francisco Unified School District and City College of San Francisco to resolve details of the move. The City Librarian also reported that the Library’s timeline for renovation of the branch would be delayed in order to facilitate the Preschool’s move to the Revere School location. Vice President Coulter requested that details of this status report be included in the meeting’s minutes.

Vice President Coulter recommended including Peer Panelists’ comments with the report of the response made to them. The Commission Vice President next addressed the question that given renovation cost estimates for the Potrero Branch Library should consideration of its being torn down and replaced with a new facility instead be given. In response the BLIP Manager reported that replacement of the facility would require significantly greater funds than those budgeted for this project and that doing a replacement would trigger challenging planning issues that a renovation project did not. Vice President Coulter remained unsatisfied with the proposed designs and suggested that given the significant funds being expended it might be worth the effort to take on any Planning Department issues and get the best possible new facility for the money spent.

President Higueras noted that there were a lot of activities being squeezed into too small a space at this branch and noted that the neighborhood had a reasonable expectation that after their branch library was renovated it would be better than before. President Higueras noted unused space in the building’s basement and suggested consideration of use of some of it. President Higueras also acknowledged that the cost of this renovation suggested that a replacement option be at least consider especially as the proposed designs were unsatisfactory. Ms. Thompson noted that this situation was not unique citing similar questions regarding the renovation of the North Beach Branch Library; and that obtaining Planning variances would certainly be very time consuming and thus costly to undertake. President Higueras requested that this proposal be brought back to the Commission for further discussion and suggested that steps be taken to re-engage with the neighborhood to determine what the community wanted.


Branch Library Improvement Program Manager Marilyn Thompson outlined the changes in the eight BLIP project budgets made to fully reflect the real costs of moving. Ms. Thompson then introduced Ms. Judy Moran, Arts Commission Public Art Program Administrator, who informed the Library Commissioners of the details of the Arts Commission’s revisions to the Branch Library Improvement Program Arts Master Plan reflecting as mandated by law that increased funding available due to increases in project budgets.


An anonymous member of the public discussed: the existence of explanatory documents not listed on the meeting’s agenda; observed that left no time for members of the public to study them; and suggested that there should be a full and deliberate review before action was taken; and said that most Planning issue changes took place without controversy.

Mr. Peter Warfield expressed disappointment that explanatory materials were not available in advance; suggested that there were many unanswered questions; and recommended that no action be taken.


President Higueras noted that that it would have been useful if the Art Enrichment Master Plan documents had been dated. Responding to Commissioners’ questions Arts Commission representative Judy Moran reported that these were the first and only amendments to the Branch Library Improvement Program Art Enrichment Master Plan.

In response to a query, BLIP Manager Marilyn Thompson informed Commissioner Kane changes to the Branch Library Improvement Program Art Enrichment Master Plan were triggered by increases in the budgets of several projects

MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, 2nd Vice President Coulter for approval of the proposed revision to the Branch Library Improvement Program Budget.

Commissioner Gomez called attention to a potential conflict-of-interest should she vote on this issue and it was proposed she be recused from voting on this matter upon the advice of Deputy City Attorney Adine Varah.

MOTION: by Vice President Coulter, 2nd Commissioner Bautista to recuse Commission Gomez from voting on this matter in order to avoid any potential conflict of interest should she vote on this matter.

ACTION: AYE 6-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Gomez, Higueras, and Kane)

On the motion to approve the proposed Branch Library Improvement Program (BLIP) Budget revisions.

ACTION: AYE 5-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Higueras, and Kane)

Recused 1 – (Gomez)


MOTION: by Commissioner Bautista, 2nd Commissioner Chin to adjourn the regular September 15, 2005 Public Library Commission meeting.

ACTION: AYE 6-0 (Bautista, Chin, Coulter, Gomez, Higueras, and Kane)

The Commission meeting adjourned at 5:57pm.

Michael Housh, Commission Secretary 9/29/05

Please note: Copies of Commission Minutes and handouts are available in the Office of the Commission Secretary, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

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 website at

Additional materials not listed as explanatory documents on this agenda, 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).


BLIP Program Manager’s Report slides

BLIP Program Budget, Schedule, and Construction Reports,

Branch Library Improvement Program (BLIP) Budget Revisions 9-15-05

Branch Library Improvement Program Art Enrichment Master Plan

Branch Library Improvement Program Art Enrichment Master Plan,

First Amendment

Minutes of the Library Commission Meeting September 15, 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

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