News Release - November 23, 2009

Toy Trains Return to the Main Library for Annual Holiday Display

For Immediate Release: November 23, 2009

Contacts: Michelle Jeffers (415) 557-4282

Toy Trains Return to the Main Library for Annual Holiday Display

All Aboard: San Francisco Public Library Holiday Train on View Dec. 5-Jan. 10

The San Francisco Public Library is bringing back its annual interactive toy train display, All Aboard: San Francisco Public Library Holiday Train, featuring beloved toy trains based on children’s literature. Now in its fourth year, the electric toy train layout features the Polar Express, from the book by Chris Van Allsburg, Thomas the Tank Engine, from the book series by W. Awdry, and the Hogwarts Express from the Harry Potter book series. The trains will be on display in front of the Fisher Children’s Center, Main Library, Second Floor, from Dec. 5 through Jan. 7, 2010.

Throughout this interactive exhibit, young visitors can “power” the Lionel O scale replica trains by pushing the buttons that activate each engine along the 35-foot-track. The buttons also activate ski gondolas, a Ferris wheel, tiny sledders and village lights inside the plexiglass-enclosed exhibit. Large buttons, with easy-to-read signage, make the display readily accessible to young children.

To coincide with the exhibit, a large variety of the Library’s beloved train books will be displayed and available for checking out.

“Why do children like trains? I know why I’ve always liked them: They’re cool. They make great noises, clickety-clacking down the track, or blowing their whistles. The engineers and conductors wear cool uniforms and wave to people watching the trains. They have powerful engines, cute cabooses and fun names, and they can carry people and lots of other stuff all over the place—in one case, a girl traveled by train as piece of mail—see the book, Mailing May by Michael O’Tunnell, based on a true story,” said Carla Kozak, SFPL’s children’s collection development specialist. “And of course, trains lend themselves to being anthropomorphized! The classic one is the Little Engine that Could, but the very popular Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends have been following in that Little Engine’s very big wheel prints.”

The annual holiday train display is the work of Roberto Lombardi, the Library’s Facilities Director, and his staff from the Facilities Engineering Unit. Over the course of the exhibit, it is estimated that the trains will travel more than 200 miles on the tiny tracks.

When children are done pushing the train display buttons, they can look for these favorite train books in the collection:

  • A Train Goes Clickety-Clack by Jonathan London, illustrated by Denis Roche
  • Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo by Kevin Lewis, pictures by Daniel Kirk
  • Trains: Steaming! Pulling! Huffing! by Patricia Hubbell, illustrated by Megan Halsey and Sean Addy
  • Trains by Lynn Curlee
  • I love trains! by Philemon Sturges, illustrated by Shari Halpern
  • Trains by Gail Gibbons
  • Hey Mr. Choo-choo, Where Are You Going? by Susan Wickberg, illustrated by Yumi Heo
  • C is for Caboose: Riding the Rails from A to Z.
  • The Little Engine That Could retold by Watty Piper with new art by Loren Long
  • Freight train by Donald Crews
  • I'm Taking a Trip on My Train by Shirley Neitzel, pictures by Nancy Winslow Parker.
  • Mr. Putter & Tabby Take the Train by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Arthur Howard.
  • Black and white by David Macaulay
  • Choo Choo: The Story of a Little Engine Who Ran Away by Virginia Lee Burton
  • Down by the Station by Jennifer Riggs Vetter, illustrations by Frank Remkiewicz

The annual holiday train exhibit is free and open to the public. For more information, please call (415) 557-4277.

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