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San Francisco Main Library Celebrates 20 Years


For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Jeffers
415 557-4282

San Francisco Main Library Celebrates 20 Years

WHAT:      20th Anniversary Celebration of the Main Library

We are marking two decades of the “new” Main with music, aerial dance, cheers and treats outside on the Main Library’s Larkin Street plaza, facing Civic Center Plaza.

WHEN:      Monday, April 18, starting at 12:30 p.m.

WHERE:   San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin Street, steps

WHO:        Anniversary Remarks with City Librarian Luis Herrera, Library Commission President Dr. Mary Wardell Ghirarduzzi, Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services Director Derick Brown, and Friends of the San Francisco Public Library interim Executive Director Marie Ciepiela

DETAILS:  12:30 p.m. Mariachi Nueva Generacion

12:55 p.m. BANDALOOP (vertical dance performance rappelling from roof of the Main Library)

1:05 p.m. Anniversary Remarks

1:15 p.m. Cheer San Francisco

Friends of the Library will host a book sale on the plaza.


San Francisco Main Library Turns 20

March 31, 2016
Contact: Michelle Jeffers
415 557-4282;

San Francisco Main Library Turns 20

Twenty years have passed since the San Francisco Main Library first opened its doors to great acclaim on April 18, 1996, and that anniversary is being celebrated with more than 20 lively programs, events and exhibits.

Today, the Main is busier than ever, greeting more than 1.8 million visitors each year, and checking out close to two million items. The Main Library is open more than 3,000 hours a year.

atriumAnniversary day on April 18 will feature music, refreshments, performances and more, starting at 12:30 p.m. on the Larkin Street steps of the Main Library at 100 Larkin Street. In honor of the original 1996 opening events, the anniversary celebration will feature a performance by BANDALOOP, a pioneer in vertical performance. Under the artistic direction of Amelia Rudolph, BANDALOOP re-imagines dance, activates public spaces, and inspires wonder and imagination. BANDALOOP has performed for sold out crowds at sites throughout the U.S. and internationally.

Additional Selected Events:

April 8: Library Treasure Hunt starts in the atrium of the Main Library at 12 p.m. Participants will explore undiscovered gems of knowledge and complete mini-challenges at six or more stops throughout the building.

April 12: The Matter of Black Lives will feature comedian and activist Sampson McCormick, poet Amanda Johnston, and social justice activist and popular culture scholar and writer Shawn Taylor, who will discuss their views on the current state of Black America. Main Library, Koret Auditorium, 6 p.m.

April 13: A distinguished panel of architects will discuss Twenty Years: A Renaissance of Library Architecture. Learn how architecture reflects the evolution of library services with Marsha Maytum, Mark Schatz, Cathy Simon, John King, and Charles Higueras. Main Library, Koret Auditorium, 6 p.m.

April 26 and 28: Save Your Stuff and Pass it On. Learn how to preserve your precious personal memories and archives. Books & Paper, April 26; Photos: April 28. Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Community Room, 6 p.m.

Selected Exhibitions:

Animal House: Anthropomorphic Selections from the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit and Humor. Have some fun with an exhibition showcasing animals behaving like humans in cartoons, comics and literature from artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. April 1 – May 31, Main Library, Skylight Gallery. (see also:

Queerest.Library.Ever. #Hormelat20. Selected items are drawn from the Hormel LGBTQIA Center from its archival collections of personal papers and organizational records, including rare posters, photographs, correspondence, documents and objects. April 16 – Aug. 7, Main Library, Jewett Gallery, Skylight Bridge, and Hormel Center, plus Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Memorial Branch. (see also:

Main Library at 20. Exhibition includes original blueprints, photographs, reports, press packets, and newspaper accounts from the planning, construction and opening of the Main. April 18 – June 30, Main Library, San Francisco History Center.

Note to Editors:  Photos and graphic images available.

Animal House: Anthropomorphic Selections from the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit & Humor – Annual exhibition opens April 1

For Immediate Release
March 2, 2016

Contact: Michelle Jeffers
(415) 557-4282;

Animal House: Anthropomorphic Selections
from the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit & Humor

Annual Exhibition opens April 1

April 1 – May 31, 2016
Main Library, Skylight Gallery

Animal House: Anthropomorphic Selections from the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit & Humor, an exhibition showcasing animals behaving like humans in cartoons, comics and literature, opens April 1, in the Skylight Gallery, Sixth Floor, Main Library.

A literary device appearing in 18th and 19th century political pamphlets and news sheets, as well as magazines of humor and satire, anthropomorphic or humanized animals are part of the 21st century commonplace. The burgeoning movement away from moralizing children’s books toward the shaping of books with more entertainment value represents some of the largest appeal to readers of all ages (think Dr. Seuss and descendants).

Many people are familiar with the comics section of the newspaper, a significant literacy tool as well as popular entertainment. For San Francisco Bay Area readers at least eight strips with humanized animals appear in our local newspapers. From nursery rhymes, fairy tales and children’s books, to political humor and a wide assortment of cartoons and comics from international sources, we recognize and celebrate the mischievous activities of anthropomorphic animals. They carry on just like we do!

Join the fun as we feature a selection of materials, showcasing the renowned, and little known, comic artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. Animal House continues through May 31.

“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 of Wit and Humor, in tribute to Mr. Schmulowitz’s generosity and lifelong interest in the Library.


The Art, Music and Recreation Center presents Yackety Yak: Animals Talk Back, the Thursdays at Noon Video Series, in the Koret Auditorium:

April 7 – A Wallace and Gromit Double Feature: A Grand Day Out and Curse of the Were-Rabbit
April 14 – The Adventure of Milo and Otis
April 21 – Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
April 28 – Ponyo

Publicity poster for Rum Pum Pum by Hans Fischer (1961)
Publicity poster for Rum Pum Pum by Hans Fischer (1961)

SFPL Celebrating 20 Years of the Queerest.Library.Ever.

For Immediate Release:
Contact: Michelle Jeffers
(415) 557-4282;


SFPL Celebrating 20 Years of the Queerest.Library.Ever.
Hormel Center Highlights Milestone with Exhibition and Related Programs


The James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center at San Francisco Public Library is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a major exhibition, titled Queerest.Library.Ever. #Hormelat20, that recognizes its history as the first library center of its kind in the nation with collections documenting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning, intersex and allies history and culture, with a special emphasis on the Bay Area. The center is named for U.S. Ambassador James C. Hormel and has been a source of pride for San Francisco and LGBTQIA advocates for two decades.

Selected from its archival collections of personal papers and organizational records, the exhibition will include rare posters, photographs, correspondence, documents and objects. The exhibition will span four locations: the Main Library’s Jewett Gallery, its 3rd floor Hormel Center, the 6th floor Skylight Gallery bridge and at the Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Memorial Branch Library. It will be on view from April 16 through August 7.

There will also be a variety of special events to celebrate the Hormel Center and its place within the LGBTQIA community, including the opening event, Teens and Queens, on Saturday April 23 at 2 p.m. in the Main Library’s Koret Auditorium.

This special exhibition is supported by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

Exhibition highlights at each location include:

The Jewett Gallery at the Main Library showcases its archival collections with Celebrating Our Past/Creating Our Future. “Lesbian Literary Love” looks at relationships between lesbian authors, publishers, booksellers and readers. “How We See Ourselves” includes alternative gender expression and vintage physique photographs and drawings.  Recently digitized materials from the Frameline film and video collections continue this investigation of visual self-representation. “How We Come Together” demonstrates the importance of community, including bars, community groups, and entertainment. “How We Effect Change” investigates activism and politics.

The 3rd floor Hormel Center documents four components of its history: Making of the Mural documents how the spectacular ceiling mural came about; How the Hormel Happened recounts the genesis and development of the pioneering affinity center. Reversing Vandalism showcases art projects created out of vandalized library books and LGBTQI Shades highlights the photo history project documenting the bay area’s queer communities.

6th floor bridge revisits Out at the Library, the panel exhibit celebrating the Center’s first ten years is once again on display, having traveled all across the country.

The Eureka Valley branch offers Queer & Quirky: OBJECTifying Ourselves displays artifacts demonstrating the relationship of queer culture to dominant American culture, including a Gay Bob doll, Queer Trivia game and a rare 1600s broadside.

Hormel Center Online

This online exhibit will feature many fascinating, never-before-available programs and materials, including archival histories with photos and anecdotes created by our Hormel Archivist.


April 23: Teens and Queens, the opening program, features The Rising Rhythm Project honoring voguing legends with fabulous and fierce choreography. Other acts will also follow. Main Library, Koret Auditorium, 2:00pm

May 17: Lambda Literary Awards Finalists Reading. Our annual event featuring the year’s finest in LGBTQIA writing and poetry. Main Library, Latino Hispanic Community Room, 6:00 p.m.

June 2: Twenty-Five Years of Vampire Life: The Gilda Stories Reissued. When Gilda escaped from slavery in 1850 she didn’t expect to live to see the 21st century.  Jewelle Gomez will read from this cult classic and catch you up on what Gilda’s been up to. Main Library, James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center, 6:00 p.m.

June 7: From Sleaze to Classics. An Intergenerational Conversation on Lesbian/Queer Lit. Featuring Ann Bannon (Beebo Brinker series), award-winning author Michelle Tea, and RADAR Artistic Director and writer Juliana Delgado Lopera. Main Library, Koret Auditorium, 6:00 p.m.

June 8: RADAR SuperStars Program: featuring La Pocha Nostra; La Chica Boom; Chinaka Hodge and Aya de Leon. Main Library, Koret Auditorium, 6:00.

Library Continues Latino Voices Programs

For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Jeffers
(415) 557-4282;

Library Continues Latino Voices Programs

(February 23, 2016) San Francisco, CA—San Francisco Public Library will continue its Latino Americans: 500 Years of History programming with three events that explore the history of Latino press, radio and comic arts within the U.S.

Jaime Crespo, the author of the comic, Tortilla, will be the featured artist at A History of Latino Comics: El Movimiento on Feb. 25, at 6 p.m. in the Main Library’s Koret Auditorium.  Crespo will take us on a personal journey of his first discoveries of Latino themes in comics. He will explore the effect of everything from car magazines to politically charged works in his comicslatino500.

On April 14, we will be screening Peril and Promise in the Main Library’s Koret Auditorium.  This is a screening of the final episode of the Latino Americans: 500 Years of History video series, which looks at the past 30 years of Latino American history within the U.S.  The video takes a closer look at the second wave of arriving Cubans in the 1980s, and the unrest in El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua that led to hundreds of thousands of new Americans.

Comic artist Jaime Crespo will return on May 12 to the Main Library’s Koret Auditorium with Latino Comics Expo co-founder Ricardo Padilla, for the final program in the series, A History of Latino Comics: The Underground.  The duo will discuss how the Underground Comix scene of the 1960s and 70s stimulated a Latino Comics movement.

Latino Americans: 500 Years of History, a public programming initiative produced by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Library Association (ALA), is part of an NEH initiative, The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square.

This program is supported by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, in partnership with Accion Latina, an organization dedicated to promoting cultural arts, community media, and civic engagement as a way of building healthy and empowered Latino communities.

Tinker and Build with Maker March at S.F. Public Library

For Immediate Release
February 23, 2016

Contact: Michelle Jeffers
(415) 557-4282;

Tinker and Build with Maker March at S.F. Public Library

SAN FRANCISCO, Ca—makerThe Library will transform into a workshop space and tech lab for Maker March, a month-long series of exciting programs.  Believing that we can all be makers, the Library is offering exciting programming at all 28 neighborhood libraries to get brains working and hands moving.

Patrons will have opportunities to explore more than 150 programs, like DIY playdough at Ocean View branch on March 12.  Kids can construct scribble bots at Merced branch on March 8, as well as craft sock monkeys in honor of Lunar Year at Ortega branch on March 19.  Youth can create cardboard forts at Visitacion Valley branch on March 4 or participate in a Chinese Cooking workshop at Noe Valley Branch on March 24.

Entertainment is also on the horizon with a funny and engaging multi-media performance by Grammy-nominated children’s artist, Gustafer Yellowgold on March 12 11 a.m. at the Main Library.

Teens will not be left out as our new teen digital learning center, The Mix at SFPL, will offer up chances to design a 3D object, make a t-shirt tote or learn about fashion design within our Makerspace Open Studio, held on Tuesdays and Saturdays during the month of March.

Adults won’t be left out of the maker fun with a wide variety of programs like making a book at Bernal branch on March 12, paper and light tinkering with origami at Potrero branch on March 9 or making a terrarium for the pleasure of nature-based art at Visitacion Valley branch on March 9.

Find all 150+ Maker March programs in our special brochure available at any library branch or online at under the topic “Maker March”.

Call for Nominations for San Francisco Poet Laureate

February 17, 2016

Michelle Jeffers
(415) 557-4282; (415) 608-1593;

Call for Nominations for San Francisco Poet Laureate

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and the San Francisco Poet Laureate Nominating Committee are seeking nominations for the seventh San Francisco Poet Laureate, to succeed Alejandro Murguía, whose term has expired.

Poet Laureate nominees must be San Francisco residents, have a substantial body of published work, including at least one full length book (minimum 48 pages, not self-published or vanity press) and/or professional digital recording of performance with text (not self-produced) or 20 or more published poems in established publications, print or online, over the past five years.

“As San Francisco’s first Poet Laureate said, ‘The center of literate culture in cities has always centered in the great libraries.’ San Francisco Public Library is pleased to lead the way in this great San Francisco literary tradition by beginning the process for the selection of the next Poet Laureate for our city,” said City Librarian Luis Herrera.

Responsibilities of the Poet Laureate include:

  • Deliver an inaugural address to the public at San Francisco Public Library
  • Participate in community-based poetry events that serve multi-generational, multi-ethnic residents representative of the City.
  • Work on one or more poetry-centered events in cooperation with the San Francisco Public Library, WritersCorps, and Friends of the San Francisco Public Library
  • Lead a poetry reading/event at Litquake, San Francisco’s annual literary festival.

San Francisco’s sixth Poet Laureate, Alejandro Murguía, was the first Latino poet to hold the position. A professor at San Francisco State University, he was appointed by Mayor Ed Lee in 2012. During his tenure he presented the Flor Y Canto poetry festivals and organized a major exhibition at the San Francisco Main Library titled A Little Piece of Mexico, which featured the postcards of Guillermo Kahlo. His latest book of poetry, Stray Poems, was published by City Lights Books in 2014. He continues to sponsor a monthly poetry series, Voz Sin Tinta at Alley Cat Books. A fragment of one of his poems was included in the resolution for the 24th Street Cultural Corridor, approved by the San Francisco Mayor and Board of Supervisors.

Previous Poet Laureates included Diane Di Prima, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Janice Mirikitani, devorah major and Jack Hirschman.

Nomination forms for the Poet Laureate can be found online at or at any San Francisco Public Library. Nominations should include a two or three paragraph statement on why the nominee should be San Francisco’s Poet Laureate, and include a bibliography of published works and/or performance history.

Nominations, which are due by April 17, 2016, should be sent to Luis Herrera, City Librarian, San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102, or submitted via email to
For more information, please call (415) 557-4277.

Library Commission Elects Dr. Mary Wardell Ghirarduzzi as President

For Immediate Release:
Contact: Michelle Jeffers
(415) 557-4282;

Library Commission Elects Dr. Mary Wardell Ghirarduzzi as President

January 28, 2016, SAN FRANCISCO, CA—

The San Francisco Public Library is happy to announce the election of Dr. Mary Wardell Ghirarduzzi to the position of President of the San Francisco Public Library Commission.  She has been on the Library Commission since June of 2014 when appointed by Mayor Edwin Lee. Dr. Wardell Ghirarduzzi has almost 20 years of leadership experience within California higher education.

“We look forward to having Dr. Wardell Ghirarduzzi’s leadership and vision guiding the Library Commission in such groundbreaking times”, said City Librarian Luis Herrera.

maryDr. Wardell Ghirarduzzi is currently the Vice Provost for Diversity Engagement and Community Outreach at the University of San Francisco.  Working with faculty, staff, students and diverse communities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, she promotes understanding of diversity as core to the holistic and sustainable higher education organization.  She received her BA in Communication from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, her hometown.  She received her MA in Cross Cultural Counseling from San Diego State University; and a doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine University in Los Angeles.

“I am so pleased and humbled by the opportunity to serve the city and county of San Francisco community in this new capacity. The San Francisco Library Commission is uniquely situated to lead in the creation of equitable centers of learning which encourage critical convening and mutual discovery. This is an important historical moment for this work, and I am profoundly excited to be part of it”, said Dr. Mary Wardell Ghirarduzzi.

The San Francisco Public Library Commission is a seven-member commission appointed by the Mayor of San Francisco.  The Commission sets policy and is responsible for the library budget for the San Francisco Public Library system.  Commissioners serve a four-year term.

The Library Commission also re-elected Susan Mall as the Vice-President of the Commission.  Ms. Mall was appointed in February 2013 by Mayor Edwin Lee. Ms. Mall is development professional with a successful track record of leadership, strategic planning and event production for fund-raising, donor relations and marketing efforts.

Author Adam Johnson: The Orphan Master’s Son – SF Public Library to Host Book Talk and Signing

For Immediate Release:
Contact: Michelle Jeffers
(415) 557-4282;

Author Adam Johnson: The Orphan Master’s Son
SF Public Library to Host Book Talk and Signing

Author Talk
Tuesday, February 9, 2016 – 6 pm
San Francisco Main Library, Koret Auditorium

Adam Johnson, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Orphan Master’s Son, San Francisco Public Library’s On the Same Page pick for January/February 2016 will be at the Library’s Koret Auditorium to give a short reading of his acclaimed book, talk about his newest work, Fortune Smiles, a collection of short stories and take questions from the audience.

orphanThe Orphan Master’s Son has been described as “an exquisitely crafted novel that carries the reader on an adventuresome journey into the depths of totalitarian North Korea and into the most intimate spaces of the human heart.” Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother—a singer “stolen” to Pyongyang—and an influential father who runs a work camp for orphans. Considering himself “a humble citizen of the greatest nation in the world,” Jun Do rises in the ranks.  He becomes a professional kidnapper who must navigate the shifting rules, arbitrary violence, and baffling demands of his Korean overlords in order to stay alive.  Driven to the absolute limit, he boldly takes on the treacherous role of rival to Kim Jong Il in an attempt to save the woman he loves, Sun Moon, a legendary actress.

adamAdam Johnson, a professor of English at Stanford and a San Francisco resident, is also the author of the short story collection, Fortune Smiles, which won the 2015 National Book Award for fiction.

Book signing follows the talk. Book sales by Readers Bookstore.

There are currently more than 900 copies of this journey into North Korea checked out at San Francisco Public Library. Don’t miss this insightful program!

San Francisco Public Library Unveils New $1.7 Million Learning Center & Veterans Resource Center

Michelle Jeffers,
(415) 557-4282; (415) 608-1593

San Francisco Public Library Unveils New $1.7 Million
Learning Center & Veterans Resource Center

(San Francisco – January 20, 2015) –Mayor Ed Lee joined with Supervisor Jane Kim and City Librarian Luis Herrera for the grand opening of the San Francisco Main Library’s new $1.7 million, fifth floor learning center, known as The Bridge at Main.

The new center, constructed by San Francisco Public Works, offers programming and information to build literacy skills along with a new Veterans Resource Center, to provide assistance and benefit connections for veterans in San Francisco.

“San Francisco is a true tale of two cities. It has an incredible literate population that supports the literary arts, books and poetry, but also some astonishing gaps. A recent study found that 47% of adults in the city have low literacy skills, and only a fraction are being served,” said City Librarian Luis Herrera. “This new center is part one of the tremendous and transformative undertaking we are making at the San Francisco Main Library. Our mission is to make sure that all San Franciscans gain 21st century literacy skills and that no one in our community is left behind for lack of resources.”

The Bridge at Main will offer a full complement of adult and family literacy classes, 1-on-1 tutoring, learning differences resource support, plus technology, health and financial literacy programs. The Library’s 30-year-old adult literacy program, Project Read, which pairs learners with volunteer tutors to build English language skills, will also be housed in the new Bridge at Main.

The Bridge at Main also is taking an innovative approach to digital literacy skills, offering classes and resources for 3D printing, sewing, digital animation and more. Thanks to a new financial literacy grant, the center will offer classes to help people learn about everything from establishing a checking account to saving for college and retirement to understanding home loans.

The Veterans Resource Center (VRC), which is offered in partnership with Cal Vets, will allow veterans to be able to learn about state and federal education, employment, housing, health, disability and other benefits that may be available to them and their families. The VRC will have a collection of books and other resources for veterans, and provide access to computer equipment for extended periods in order to complete online application and do research.