Hormel Center History


Hormel Center History

As planning for a new main library began to take shape, the idea of affinity centers, representing different constituencies was implemented both as a fundraising strategy and as a reflection of the collections in the new facility.

Steve Coulter, in his role as president of the Library Commission, visited exemplary libraries in Europe and in the United States as part of the planning process. Impressed with the New York Public Library’s Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture, Coulter proposed a "gay Schomberg," a separate research collection of gay and lesbian materials, within the SFPL organization.

In addition to Library administration, among the early supporters were Mayor Art Agnos, Executive Director of the Library Foundation Martin Paley, and members of the advisory committee of the Eureka Valley-Harvey Milk Memorial Branch.  Many, many meetings took place to anticipate how the new Center would best meet the informational needs of its intended audience.

Steve Coulter quotes Randy Shilts' statement at the 1991 kick-off press conference: "We’re losing far too many people to the AIDS epidemic - it’s essential we not lose our history, too."  During the fundraising campaign in the early 1990s, Chuck Forester recalled that "we said very clearly that we didn't want a dime of anyone’s money that would otherwise go to an AIDS organization." The various components of the developing Hormel Center were debated. To generate donor interest, FUBO was a term frequently floated: First, Unique, Best, Only.

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