Letters to the editor

Please help stop legislation authorizing harsh and unnecessary fees at the San Francisco public library - including $115 for a lost or damaged book obtained via the "LINK+" program

- by sending letters to the SF Board of Supervisors before they vote on the issue July 15.

Main Library officials have been posting and charging more than a dozen fees, including the $115 lost/damaged book fee, that were never authorized by the Board of Supervisors.

Now, the SF Library Commission has sent legislation to the Board to authorize these fees - retroactively!

The fees also include $20 to scan a photograph ($15 if it was previously scanned), and a dozen charges for equipment requested in free community meeting rooms, such as $30 per hour for a PowerPoint presentation and $30 to use a microphone.

The library has said it will try to obtain a lower book replacement fee for patrons but there is no guarantee of success because the library that owns the book has the final say. Also, patrons owing more than $10 can no longer borrow books - a harsh and potentially long-term consequence for losing a single inexpensive book.

Supervisors Ross Mirkarimi and Chris Daly courageously voted against this legislation at the Budget and Finance Committee June 19, but the close 3-2 vote sent it to the full Board for a vote July 15. Supporting this harsh legislation were Supervisors Jake McGoldrick, Sean Elsbernd and Carmen Chu.

Library officials have said these fees bring in no more than $10,000 - $20,000 per year. That's peanuts in an $80 million budget - and a poor return considering how significantly such fees deter use.

Traditional inter-library loans, with access to many more books, has no fixed lost/damaged book fee. But, as of now, patrons cannot use the service if LINK+ has the requested book on file.

Please join me and many others in letting the supervisors know these fees are harsh and unnecessary.
Peter Warfield
Executive Director
Library Users Association

The Balboa Theatre has been providing entertainment to Richmond and Sunset movie lovers since 1926 and this year may offer the most exciting selection ever.

Early July offers the newest animated hit from the Bay Area's own Pixar. Following last year's smash success "Ratatouille," "WALL-E" is a unique science fiction comedy.

In the Balboa tradition of hosting special guests, Pixar animators will be discussing their work. Check the Web site for details at www.BalboaMovies.com.

Also in early July is the historical adventure "Mongol." It recounts the early life of Genghis Khan, who was a slave before going on to conquer half the world, including Russia, in 1206.

"Batman" returns in The Dark Knight on July 18. Christian Bale returns to fight the Joker, played by the late Heath Ledger. Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Morgan Freeman co-star.

"Mamma Mia!," the hit stage musical, is magically transformed into big screen entertainment. Opens July 18.

The Balboa Theatre, located at 3630 Balboa St., has low prices, a special discount card offer, local artists' exhibits and special events. A weekly newsletter at www.BalboaMovies.com keeps readers informed.

Gary Meyer
Proprietor, Balboa Theatre