San Francisco Public Library


A collection of the General Collections & Humanities Center Basic materials such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, selected editions of important works, handbooks and periodical publications in different languages are collected. English as a Second Language (ESL) materials (books, CDs, DVDs and audio cassettes) are collected for those who are learning English; instructional language materials are offered with an emphasis on Spanish, French, Chinese and other European and Asian languages. The collection reflects changes in population patterns, community needs and patron demand and is aimed at students, travelers and those interested in expanding or acquiring a new language skill. (Fiction and nonfiction works in international languages are collected by the International Center, which serves the recreational and basic information needs of native speakers, the general public and of those learning English and other languages. Films, documentaries, audiobooks and other non-print material in international languages are collected by the Audiovisual Center. The collection is weeded continuously based on currency and use.

Federal: United States Federal Depository Library since 1889 and one of the largest and oldest collections in Northern California; receives approximately 80% of the documents published by the U.S. government including census publications for all decennial and economic censuses; statistics; annual reports; legislation; statutes; codes; regulations; treaties; military history; major publications of federal departments (e.g. U.S. Geological Survey's Professional Papers, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Bulletin); Congressional publications (e.g. extensive holdings of the Serial Set; House and Senate reports, hearings and documents) and biographies.

English Language / Linguistics: Beginning-to-college-level materials for those learning the English language; general and specialized dictionaries; material discussing the origins of language and the alphabet.

ESL: English: language and bilingual materials to help non-native speakers learn English as a Second Language; materials for instructors of ESL.

International Language Learning: Emphasis is on the needs of English-speaking adult and student beginners and travelers.