Talking With Kids About Race – Raising Safe, Informed, & Engaged Kids in 2017

For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Katherine Jardine
(415) 557-4295;

Talking With Kids About Race
Raising Safe, Informed, & Engaged Kids in 2017

Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden to provide opening remarks

San Francisco, CA — San Francisco Public Library is holding the second in a series of progressive programs that aim to help parents, educators, and caregivers talk to kids about race and power. A diverse group of speakers will participate in a panel discussion about protecting children’s safety and raising them to be resilient and proud of their identities, while also showing up for their friends.

The panel discussion will be kicked off with a welcome from the Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden.


  • Toni Hines, parent organizer at Coleman Advocates
  • Carla Marie Munoz, Costanoan Rumsen Ohlone Tribe artist, singer and dancer
  • Abdul Benterkia, Program Officer with Building Leaders in Innovative New Giving (BLING), and an Arab Youth Organization (AYO!) Leader
  • Alex Vasquez, Youth Intern with Our Family Coalition
  • Julie Roberts-Phung, Co-founder of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Families


  • Karen Zapata, activist, teacher at June Jordan High School, and board member of Teachers 4 Social Justice
  • Chalida Anusasananan, teacher librarian at Everett Middle School and member of Teachers 4 Social Justice

The panel covers topics on race, gender, and power dynamics, with families of color and families with other marginalized identities at the center of the conversation. Participants will gain advice on how to raise children to be proud of who they are and support them to be empowered and resilient. Families will learn to identify and acknowledge their privileged identities and help children understand how to be more aware of privilege and share it for justice.

Talking With Kids About Race: A Panel Discussion — April 22, 3:30-5:30 p.m., Koret Auditorium, Main Library

Talking With Kids About Race: A Panel Discussion is presented by SFPL with community partners: Showing up for Racial Justice (SURJ), Teachers 4 Social Justice, Our Family Coalition, Main Street Mamas, San Francisco Families Union, Abundant Beginnings, First 5 San Francisco, and San Francisco Unified School District.

About Dr. Carla Hayden
Carla Hayden was sworn in as the 14th Librarian of Congress on September 14, 2016. Hayden, the first woman and the first African American to lead the national library, was nominated to the position by President Barack Obama on February 24, 2016, and her nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 13. Prior to her latest post she served, since 1993, as CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland. Hayden was president of the American Library Association from 2003 to 2004. In 1995, she was the first African American to receive Library Journal’s Librarian of the Year Award in recognition of her outreach services at the Pratt Library.

talking with kids logos

Library’s Scholar Card amps up access for over 55,000 students

For Immediate Release:
Media Contact: Katherine Jardine
(415) 557-4295;

Image of students

Library’s Scholar Card amps up access for over 55,000 students

Unique partnership between SFPL and SFUSD promotes academic success

San Francisco, CA, April 13, 2017– Beginning today, and coinciding with National Library Week, signing up for a public library card is much simpler for students in the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). As part of the ConnectED Library Challenge, developed by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and initiated by the Obama administration, SFPL and SFUSD have partnered to provide all SFUSD students with an exclusive youth library card: the Scholar Card.

The first group of students to activate their cards was Ms. Park’s 3rd grade class, of the Tenderloin Community Elementary School. On Thursday morning, in the school’s brightly lit library, 18 students listened with full attention as SFPL Children’s Librarian Jim Jeske read aloud from Leo, A Ghost Story, a book illustrated by local artist and Scholar Card illustrator Christian Robinson. “Now are you ready to receive your very own special Scholar Library Card?” Jim asked the class, to full applause and awe. Christian Robinson handed out Scholar Cards to each student as City Librarian Luis Herrera encouraged the class to visit their neighborhood branch libraries to take advantage of the new world they now have access to.

Included in attendance to celebrate the launch of the new library card was SFUSD Superintendent Myong Leigh, the Mayor’s Senior Adviser on Education & Family Services Hydra Mendoza-McDonell and Library Commission President Dr. Mary Wardell Ghirarduzzi.

“I know, as President Obama knew, that libraries transform lives,” said Library Commission President Wardell Ghirarduzzi. “They are spaces of equity and inclusion, especially for our most marginalized in society. Today we provide a basic human right of access to knowledge through the district wide-unveiling of Scholar Cards. I’m so proud to be part of this transformation for the youngest residents of San Francisco.”

Over 55,000 students in 130 schools now have access to Scholar Cards and can begin checking out books, use online tools and access millions of free resources at all Library locations and via

“The Library is a sanctuary for students and supports the values of equity, inclusion and community,” said City Librarian Herrera. “We look forward to providing students with free access to limitless learning resources.”

SFUSD students can easily activate their library account in any library location and select a special commemorative library card designed by award-winning local artist Christian Robinson, courtesy of Chronicle Books.

The Scholar Card aims to eliminate barriers to access by providing students with a clean slate; all pre-existing fees for previously lost items are forgiven upon activation.  There are no overdue fines for youth cards.

With Scholar Cards, for free, students can:

  •        Access Library research databases
  •        Access language learning tools
  •        Receive online homework help
  •        Borrow digital materials such as e-books, e-audiobooks and magazines
  •        Stream video and music
  •        Borrow up to 50 print, audio books, DVDs or CDs

For educators, the Library offers a free Teacher Library Card, allowing San Francisco teachers to borrow library materials for longer, to request more reserves, and to request multiple copies of the same items.  This effort is part of an ongoing commitment by the San Francisco Public Library to support academic success.

Images of Scholar Cards

Scholar Card Radio PSA
:30 seconds

Because library cards are the best school supply: language learning tools, online homework help, bundles of books and streaming media – these are just a few of the millions of FREE resources that all SFUSD students now have instant access to, thanks to a unique partnership between San Francisco Public Library and the San Francisco Unified School District. Introducing the Scholar Card: the key to academic success! Easy, streamlined application process with all pre-existing fees waived. Beginning April 13, visit any library location to select a commemorative new Scholar Card design. More information at

Scholar Card partners

Library Launches New Youth Library Card

For Immediate Release:
Media Contact: Katherine Jardine
(415) 557-4295;

Invitation to Cover / Photo Opportunity

Images of Scholar Cards

 Library Launches New Youth Library Card
Unique partnership between SFPL and SFUSD promotes academic success

WHAT:  City Librarian Luis Herrera and SFUSD officials celebrate National Library Week with the launch of SFPL’s exclusive new Scholar Card, an all-access youth library card connecting over 55,000 SFUSD students to millions of free resources.

WHEN:  Today – Thursday, April 13, 11 a.m.

WHERE:  SFUSD Tenderloin Community Elementary School, 627 Turk St


  • City Librarian, Luis Herrera
  • SFUSD Superintendent, Myong Leigh
  • Board of Education Vice President, Hydra Mendoza-McDonnell
  • Library Commission President, Dr. Mary Wardell Ghirarduzzi
  • Brad Williston, SFUSD Teacher Librarian Administrator
  • Principle Anastasia Shattner
  • Ms. Park’s 3rd grade class
  • Jim Jeske, SFPL Children’s Librarian
  • Jaime Wong, Chronicle Books
  • Christian Robinson, Illustrator

THE SCHOLAR CARD:  San Francisco Public Library has teamed up with the San Francisco Unified School District to provide every SFUSD student with a public library card: The Scholar Card. The Scholar Card simplifies the library card application process and connects students to millions of free resources, such as online homework help, language learning tools and streaming media. The Scholar Card eliminates barriers to access by providing students with a “clean slate”; all fees are waived upon activation.

High resolution images available upon request.

Scholar Card partners

A New Exhibition Exploring the Best Examples of Worldwide and Local Playground Design Premiers in San Francisco on April 6


Media Contacts:

Amanda Hawkins, Design Museum Foundation • 917-747-4422

Sarah Madland, San Francisco Recreation & Park. • 415-831-2740

Missy Benson, Playworld • 804-337-6763

Michelle Jeffers, San Francisco Public Library • 415-557-4282


The Extraordinary Playscapes Exhibition Will Run Through July 8, 2017


San Francisco (March 29, 2017)— Design Museum San Francisco, Playworld, San Francisco Recreation & Parks, and the San Francisco Public Library are pleased to announce the opening of Extraordinary Playscapes, an exhibition featuring over 40 pioneering play spaces from around the world, at the Main Library’s Fisher Children’s Center on April 6. Curated by Design Museum Foundation, the exhibition explores the latest thinking in playground design while presenting how vital free play is to childhood development, thriving communities, and social equity. From towering treetop playgrounds to hand-knit crochet installations, visitors will discover how architects and designers worldwide are engaging diverse communities to translate play objectives into state-of-the-art and meaningful play environments.

“Our goal is to connect San Francisco to the free play movement through an exceptional public exhibition about the design of playscapes,” says Sam Aquillano, Executive Director of Design Museum Foundation and co-curator of the exhibition. “There are so many examples of extraordinary playscapes in the world, and we’re hoping to inspire people of all ages to get outside and play.”

Among the many sites on display, the exhibition will feature: a project that reimagined a scrapped ambulance as a children’s hospital playground in Malawi, Africa; examples of how Danish design integrates nature and play; and innovative play-centered design happening right here in San Francisco. As an interactive experience, Extraordinary Playscapes includes playable installations, videos, scale models, and hands-on elements for viewers as they explore the art, history, and science behind the world of play.

“San Francisco Public Library is excited to host this exhibition that celebrates play spaces around the world and recognizes the importance of play in children’s lives,” said City Librarian Luis Herrera. “With actual play equipment being brought in, this is an exciting installation for the Main Library and truly reimagines 21st century child-friendly library spaces. We encourage families from throughout the neighborhood and across the city to come and interact with this exhibit and the new PlayCubes in Civic Center Plaza.”

The program also includes a “Playground Passport” that can be picked up at the exhibition and at select local playgrounds highlighted in the exhibition. The passport will highlight amazing spaces for play around San Francisco, including a new installation of PlayCubes — a modular playground by Richard Dattner, Architect and Playworld — as part of the exhibition at Civic Center Plaza. Through support from San Francisco Recreation & Parks and the San Francisco Parks Alliance, PlayCubes will be open for play while the plaza’s permanent playgrounds are under construction.

“The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department works hard everyday to ensure that kids have clean, safe, fun places to play and grow,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park General Manger, Phil Ginsburg. “We are thrilled to partner with the Design Museum Foundation to celebrate the joy and importance of play,” said Ginsburg.

Playworld has partnered with the Design Museum Foundation on the Extraordinary Playscapes exhibit since 2015, bringing new play areas to both Boston, MA and Portland, OR. “The importance of outdoor play in the formation of a healthy childhood is well documented. Playworld is committed to providing beautiful and relevant play spaces. PlayCubes by Playworld inspires play for a wide age range, and can help you easily design for play in public spaces and in the route of travel for families. The popularity of PlayCubes and the Extraordinary Playscapes Exhibit in Boston, MA and Portland, OR shows us the beginning of a new playground revolution” said Missy Benson, a Play and Design Specialist for Playworld. “The installation of PlayCubes on Civic Center Plaza provides an exceptional opportunity to encourage millions of visitors to venture outdoors and experience a play space integrated with exceptional design,” said Benson.

Extraordinary Playscapes, free and open to the public, is on view from April 6 – July 8, 2017 at the San Francisco Main Library’s Fisher Children’s Center. The exhibit opening will be held at the Main Library on April 6th, 6:00pm. The exhibition will then travel to Chicago, IL through 2017.

Additional Program Events:

A public ribbon cutting celebration for PlayCubes will be announced next week!

June 22, 6:30pm
UNITE: Why Play? A panel discussion on the importance of play, featuring: Dr. Stuart Brown, National Institute for Play; Phil Ginsburg, San Francisco Recreation & Park; Gwen Gordon, Gwen Gordon Play; and Missy Benson, Playworld.

June 24
Kid’s Workshop — A child-driven community event where kids can get creative, collaborate, and design their own playgrounds.

For more information about programming and events related to Extraordinary Playscapes, visit

About Design Museum San Francisco

At Design Museum San Francisco we believe design can change the world. Done well, it can elevate our quality of life, make businesses more competitive, and protect our environment. Design awareness, education, and expertise are more important now than ever before as design continues to impact communities, organizations, and markets around the world. Design Museum San Francisco is redefining what it means to be a museum in the 21st century — we’re online, nomadic, and accessible to all through a network of exhibitions, events, and content. Our mission: Bring the transformative power of design everywhere, to inspire a world full of creative problem solvers. For more information visit

About Playworld

Playworld is a division of PlayPower®, Inc. Playworld believes The World Needs Play®. Play is vital to everyone’s health and well-being. It’s something you are never too young or too old to enjoy. We develop playground environments where creativity is king, belly laughs are welcome and children make the rules. Playworld’s equipment and surfacing are designed to unleash the transformational power of play so bodies grow stronger, children play safely and imagination can take flight. For nearly 50 years, Playworld has created innovative, inclusive and meaningful outdoor play experiences for all ages and abilities. For more information visit

About the San Francisco Main Library, Fisher Children’s Center

The Fisher Children’s Center provides a variety of services, exhibits, and programs to promote children’s enjoyment of literature, media, information and recreational reading. The Center is for children, parents, childcare providers, educators, individuals and researchers. For more information visit

About San Francisco Recreation & Parks

The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department’s Mission is to provide enriching recreational activities, maintain beautiful parks and preserve the environment for the well-being of our diverse community. Today the department, overseen by the Recreation and Park Commission, administers more than 220 parks, playgrounds, and open spaces, including two outside the city limits. For more information visit

Exhibit Openings & Author Mary Roach in Conversation

For Immediate Release:
Media Contact: Katherine Jardine
(415) 557-4295;

Exhibit Openings & Author Mary Roach in Conversation

Annual Wit & Humor Exhibit: Bombs Away: Humor Goes to War
Works by Women Eco Artists: Reclaiming Earth

Bombs Away: Humor Goes to War, an exhibition that draws from materials in the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit & Humor, is a selection of the spirit, wit and humor of those at war, and the people they left behind on the home front.  The exhibit opens April 1, in the Skylight Gallery, Sixth Floor, Main Library.

How did average readers and soldiers in the trenches deal with the stress of war in the 20th century? One way to preserve one’s sanity was keeping a sense of humor. From every imaginable corner of a war-torn world, humor was used to oppose tyranny and satirize the enemy. War is hell, but troops found that humor stayed the beast, at least temporarily; they laughed while belly-aching daily about the latest SNAFU, they laughed about jawbreakers in the mess and ribbon-happy officers. Folks at home rationed fuel and stockings, collected pots and pans for the war effort and listened to the radio for the latest news from the front. The world was full of newspaper cartoons and strips, editorial cartoons, propaganda art, Armed Services Editions sent to the troops, and humor created by the troops themselves in such newspapers as Stars and Stripes and Wipers Times.

“Without humor we are doomed,” noted Nat Schmulowitz, local attorney and former library trustee, who donated his collection of 93 jest books to the San Francisco Public Library on April 1, 1947. The collection has grown to more than 22,000 volumes and includes periodicals and audio-visual materials; it is considered the most significant collection of its kind in a public library. Every year, the Book Arts & Special Collections Center presents an exhibition based on materials in the Schmulowitz Collection, in tribute to Mr. Nat Schmulowitz’s generosity and lifelong interest in the Library.

Bombs Away: Humor Goes to War – April 1–May 31, Main Library, Skylight Gallery, 6th Floor

Reclaiming Earth, an exhibition of Women Eco Artists Dialog (WEAD), showcases the work of more than 50 female artists in altered books, textiles, photographs and paintings and opens on April 8 in the Jewett Gallery.

The exhibit developed from a depression-era adage: Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, Or do without: Lessons from our Grandmothers. Works focus on the cultural values of conservation, preservation, and frugality practiced by ancestors and cultures that live in harmony with nature. The exhibit honors the 20-year local history of WEAD, which was founded by San Francisco environmental artist, Jo Hanson, who would have been 100 in 2018. WEAD is an international artist organization that focuses on ecological and social justice issues. Notable Gallerist Donna Seager served as juror.

Reclaiming Earth: Works by Women Eco Artists – April 8–June 24, Main Library, Jewett Gallery

Both exhibits are supported by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

Related programs:

Mary Roach in Conversation with Steven Short

Beloved Bay Area author and New York Times bestseller, Mary Roach, is in conversation with KALW Producer Steven Short to discuss Roach’s latest work, Grunt; a book that tackles the science behind some of the most challenging adversaries for soldiers—panic, exhaustion, heat, flies and noise. Roach answers questions not found in any other book on the military: How is a wedding gown like a bomb suit? Why are shrimp more dangerous to sailors than sharks? Take a tour of duty with Roach, and you’ll never see our nation’s defenders in the same way again. The author talk is part of the Annual Wit & humor Exhibition, Bombs Away: Humor Goes to War

Mary Roach in Conversation with Steven Short – April 13, 6:30 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium

Reclaiming Earth Opening Event: A discussion with the juror and WEAD artists – April 9, 1 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium

Innovative Teen Center Now Open Seven Days a Week

For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Katherine Jardine
(415) 557-4295

Innovative Teen Center Now Open Seven Days a Week

SAN FRANCISCO, March 28, 2017 — The Mix at SFPL, an innovative, youth-designed, 21st century teen learning space located in the Main Library, greets spring breakers this week with new, expanded hours. Previously closed on Sundays and Mondays, The Mix is now open seven days a week. Teens can drop by The Mix for coding classes, cooking demonstrations, open mics, songwriting sessions, poetry slams, drum lessons, 3-D printing workshops, book clubs and more. All activities and services at The Mix are free.

The Mix at SFPL is a hub of out-of-school learning for youth from the City and the Bay Area. The space provides connected learning experiences to not only engage youth and promote learning that aligns with youth-led interests, but to also support youth as they develop necessary 21st century skills.

The Mix provides provides 4,770-square feet of space and equipment for youth ages 13-18 to explore, create and develop digital media and computer skills as well as discover and engage with the Library’s traditional books and materials. Outfitted with state-of-the-art digital media, video/sound recording, computer and creative maker equipment, teens are able to expand their imaginations as well as their technology and literacy skills and engage in individual and team projects that promote critical thinking, inventiveness and skill building.


Spend Spring Break in The Mix

Girls Who Code – Tuesday, March 28, 4:30 p.m.

Biblio Bistro at The Mix – Tuesday, March 28, 4 p.m.

Tuesday Night Open Mic at The Mix – Tuesday, March 28, 6p.m

Song Writing at The Mix – Wednesday, March 29, 5 p.m

Youth Speaks Turn Up (The Volume!) – Wednesday, March 29, 4:30 p.m.

The Mix Book Club – Thursday, March 30, 4 p.m.

Video Studio: Open House – Thursday, March 30, 4p.m.

Drum Lessons – Friday, March 31, 4 p.m.

3-D Printing Work$hop – Saturday, April 1, 2 p.m.

For a complete list of programs and activities, visit

Talking With Kids About Race

For Immediate Release:
Media Contact: Katherine Jardine
(415) 557-4295;

Talking With Kids About Race

San Francisco Public Library hosts progressive program for families and educators

WHAT:  San Francisco Public Library is holding the first of a series of progressive programs that aim to help parents, educators, and caregivers talk to kids about race.  The powerful changes we can make are often on a micro level, and this introductory workshop will help families and educators outline developmentally supportive language to use with kids to strengthen efforts in raising safe and empowered young people.

The nearly 250 free registrations filled up in about two weeks, demonstrating that families, teachers, and caregivers in San Francisco are eager to engage in dialogue about race with each other and with the young people in their care.

“As the President of the BOE and as a resident of San Francisco, I have always thought it to be important to have honest conversations about race relations with our children early,” says program partner Shamann Walton, President of the SFUSD Board of Education. “Embracing differences and learning about them is what helps us work better together. The reality remains that we cannot solve problems if we ignore them.”

“As a queer immigrant mama leading the largest LGBT family org in CA, I am thrilled to be partnering with so many folks who are also dedicated to creating radically inclusive schools and communities in SF and beyond,” says program partner Renata Moreira, Executive Director of Our Family Coalition.  “All of us need to know how to best engage in developmentally appropriate conversations which name race and other identities in order to raise a generation that’s culturally aware.”

WHEN:    Saturday, March 18, 3-5:30 p.m.

WHERE:  Koret Auditorium, Main Library, 100 Larkin Street

WHO: Micia Mosely, Educator and Workshop Facilitator

Luis Herrera, City Librarian

Renata Moreira, Our Family Coalition, Executive Director


Talking With Kids About Race is presented by SFPL with community partners: San Francisco Unified School District, San Francisco Families Union, Showing up for Racial Justice (SURJ), Our Family Coalition, Main Street Mamas, and First 5 San Francisco.

Talking With Kids About Race in 2017 — March 18, 3-5:30 p.m.

San Francisco Public Library Debuts Performance Arts Festival

For Immediate Release:
Media Contact: Katherine Jardine
(415) 557-4295;


San Francisco Public Library Debuts Performance Arts Festival

Live! At The Library – March 2017 Programs


San Francisco Public Library celebrates the performing arts with a new series of city-wide programs, titled Live! At The Library. The series includes 50 events throughout the month of March at all neighborhood branches, showcasing San Francisco’s rich history of the performing arts and embracing diverse forms of entertainment.

Special guests include dance workshops with the San Francisco Ballet, a West African guitar performance by Jesse Sahbi and a special hands-on workshop with award-winning author Jason Reynolds and Youth Speaks’ MC K~Swift.  Events include body percussion and belly dancing, instrument “petting zoos”, marionette shows, special effects and animation classes, rock concerts, Shakespeare plays and more.

Live! At The Library is supported by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

Featured programs

Dance Workshop with SF Ballet
Saturday, March 4, 1 p.m., Children’s Center, Main Library
Monday, March 20, 3:30 p.m., Visitacion Valley, Main Library

Jesse Sahbi, West African acoustic guitarist
Saturday, March 11, 3 p.m., Noe Valley Branch
Friday, March 17, 2 p.m., Marina Branch

Jason Reynolds + TURN UP (The Volume)
Wednesday, March 8, 4:30 p.m., The Mix at SFPL, Main Library

Belly Dance Workshop
Thursday, March 23, 5 p.m., Ingleside

World Rhythms and Chants with Body Percussion
Saturday, March 25, 1:30 p.m., Eureka Valley Branch
Saturday, March 25, 4 p.m., Parkside Branch

Community Music Center Young Musicians – Instrument Petting Zoo
Saturday, March 4, 2 p.m., Richmond Branch

The Fratello Marionettes
Saturday, March 11, 3 p.m., West Portal Branch
Saturday, March 18, 3 p.m., Western Addition

Special Effects Makeup
Thursday, March 30, 3 p.m., Mission Branch

iPad Stop Motion Animation
Wednesday, March 22, 3 p.m., Western Addition Branch

Rock Against Racism – The Mix at SFPL’s House Band
Friday, March 3, 4:45 p.m., The Mix at SFPL, Main Library

Twelfth Night
Saturday, March 11, 2 p.m., Mission Bay Branch
Wednesday, March 15, 6 p.m., Visitacion Valley Branch
Saturday, March 18, 2 p.m., Ortega Branch

Find the entire list of programs in the Live! At The Library Program Guide or via the Library’s online calendar.

699,000+ Items Returned During Library Fine Forgiveness Period

For Immediate Release:
Media Contact: Katherine Jardine
(415) 557-4295;


699,000+ Items Returned During Library Fine Forgiveness Period
More than 10,000 patrons had fines forgiven

City Librarian Luis Herrera with Webb Johnson during the return of a 100 year past due book.

699,563 items were dropped off during San Francisco Public Library’s latest fine forgiveness program from Jan. 3 – Feb. 14, 2017. During the six-week period, late fees were waived on all returned books, CDs, DVDs and other materials, regardless of how long overdue.  Included were 12,246 items that were more than 60 days past due. The value of those long overdue items was nearly $236,000.

Among the older items returned in the “We Want You Back” campaign was a collection of short stories titled 40 Minutes Late clocking in at 100 years past due. The book was returned in January to Park Branch, San Francisco Public Library’s oldest branch building. Also returned was Brass, a Novel of a Marriage by Charles Norris with a due date stamp of 1937, making the item 80 years past due. Both books were originally borrowed by the patron’s great-grand parents.

A collection of 19 of the most overdue items are on display it in the atrium of the Main Library.

San Francisco library patrons saved $329,797 in overdue materials fines and more than 5,000 patrons were able to obtain a clean slate on their record.

Ryan Kuang, a sophomore at UCLA and former Board of Advising Youth member, visited the Mix at SFPL on his last day of winter break to say hello to staff and have his fines forgiven. Youth library cards are fine-free, but now that Kuang is an adult he faced over $72 in outstanding fines. After speaking with a library staff member, his record was cleared.

Fine forgiveness is an opportunity for residents to reconnect with the library. The program allows the Library to recover materials and gives patrons with overdue items a clear record. The program aligns with the Library’s commitment to eliminating barriers to service and providing basic access for all San Franciscans, especially those most in need of library services.

To spread the word about the amnesty, SFPL partnered with Recovering the Classics, a crowdsourced collection of original book covers for works in the public domain. Among the titles selected were L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, coupled with the beloved mantra “there’s no place like home.”

Photos and patron contract information for interviews available upon request.



Newbery Medalist Kwame Alexander in conversation with Director of San Francisco Human Rights Commission Sheryl Evans Davis

For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Katherine Jardine
(415) 557-4295


Newbery Medalist Kwame Alexander in conversation with Director of San Francisco Human Rights Commission Sheryl Evans Davis

“Children’s book authors have the power to change our imaginations.” – Kwame Alexander


SAN FRANCISCO, February 13, 2017 — Award-winning author, poet and educator Kwame Alexander will share excerpts from The Playbook, a recent collection of poems and verse inspired by notable athletes and role models such as Nelson Mandela, Serena Williams, LeBron James and Michelle Obama. He will be joined by San Francisco Human Rights Commission Director, Sheryl Evans Davis.

When Alexander received the call in 2015 that his book The Crossover had won the Newbery Medal, he recognized that the two decades spent struggling to make it as a poet had been worth it. “When you’ve been told ‘no’ 20 times, the inclination is to walk out the door,” Alexander told a library audience last year. “Here’s the thing, you’ve always got to say ‘yes’ to yourself.”

Alexander has been describing his uphill battle to literary acclaim to audiences across the country, and the San Francisco Public Library is honored to host the author this Sunday afternoon in the Koret Auditorium for a discussion about his latest work, The Playbook. Alexander often shifts back and forth from conversational speaking to delivering spoken word poetry from his books, and although the subjects of his books make them easy for children to relate (his verse forms often sounds like hip-hop), his live appearances often provide many take-aways for adults as he addresses topics like love and parenting.

Following the event will be an author signing with Alexander and book selling by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.
This event is presented in partnership with Friends of San Francisco Public Library, African American Center, Jewish Community Center of San Francisco and Collective Impact.


About Kwame Alexander
Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, and the New York Times Bestselling author of 24 books, including The Crossover, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American literature for Children. Kwame writes for children of all ages. Some of his other works include Score in this game of life, Animal Ark, Out of Wonder and Surf’s Up. Kwame believes that poetry can change the world, and he uses it to inspire and empower young people through his PAGE TO STAGE Writing and Publishing Program.


About Sheryl Evans Davis
Sheryl Evans Davis is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission (HRC). Director Davis previously served as Commissioner between 2011 and 2016, including a tenure as Vice Chair of the Commission. Prior to joining the HRC, Director Davis was Executive Director of Collective Impact, a community-based organization in the Western Addition neighborhood of San Francisco.


Kwame Alexander in the Koret – Feb. 19, 2 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium