Free Holiday Events at San Francisco Public Library

Visit the San Francisco Public Library for free holiday events this season, from the annual Holiday Train display to concerts, crafts and even a tamale-making workshop.

Holiday Train

The Library’s 5th annual Holiday Train exhibit returns to the display cases outside the Fisher Children’s Center at the Main Library, 100 Larkin St., and this year it’s bigger than ever. Look for three separate tracks carrying three of literature’s favorite trains -- 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 series, by J.K. Rowling. Children love visiting the interactive display which features buttons that they can push to power the electric toy trains.

The trains will be on view from Dec. 3, 2010 through Jan. 7, 2011, at the Main Library, 100 Larkin St.

The Library’s Annual Books Arts Holiday Lecture

SFPL’s Marjorie G. and Carl W. Stern Book Arts & Special Collections Center, 2010 Annual Holiday Lecture is: “And I Stole This From …”: Sources of Inspiration, a slide lecture by Carl Rohrs.

The Book Arts lecture is Saturday, Dec. 11, 2-4 p.m., at the Main Library, 100 Larkin St.

Rohrs is a lettering artist, graphic designer and typographer. The program will feature an eclectic collection of lettering from a wide variety of calligraphers, lettering artists, graphic designers and typographers. With examples drawn from research in libraries, museums and artists’ studios around the world, Rohrs traces the sources of inspiration which have influenced his own work and the resulting transformation into a highly original personal expression.

Tamale Making Workshop

The Ingleside Branch Library will host a Mexican Food cooking and demonstration program.  Learn how to prepare, cook and serve tamales, as well as to discover the history, culture, and traditions behind the food.  Samples of the food will be served.  All adults are welcome.

Dec. 16, at 4:30 p.m., Ingleside Branch Library, 1298 Ocean Avenue (at Plymouth)

Gingerbread Cookie Decorating Workshops

Children can listen to holiday-themed stories and decorate tasty gingerbread cookies with Felicia Martin at three branch libraries this month.

Family Kwanzaa Night

Celebrate the fifth principle of Kwanzaa with friends, family and neighbors in a program featuring food, musical performance and an explanation of the Nguzo Saba, the seven principles of Kwanzaa.
Dec. 28, 3-6 p.m., Bayview Branch Library, 5075 3rd St.

Holiday Concerts

The San Francisco Forest Choir will perform English and Japanese holiday songs and chorale songs with tone chimes. The Forest Choir is a female chorus group founded in 2003. This concert will be at the

Dec. 18 at 4 p.m., Western Addition Branch Library, 1550 Scott St.

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music is offering special holiday concerts for children of all ages at the Mission Bay and Chinatown Branch Libraries.

Children of all ages can enjoy the harmonies and holiday sounds presented by Excelsior Children’s Librarians Marianne and Karla. 

Dec. 14, at 3 p.m. Excelsior Branch Library, 4400 Mission St.

Family music night featuring original and classic tunes from around the world with singer Bonnie Lockhart.

Dec. 15, at 7 p.m., Parkside Branch Library, 1200 Taraval St.

A Christmas Carol

British actor Martin Harris plays Charles Dickens in a dramatic reading of this beloved story. Mr. Harris also appears as Ebenezer Scrooge at the annual Dickens Christmas Fair while on his American Tour.  For ages 8 and older. Space limited, call (415) 557-4549 for class reservations.

Dec. 9, at 10:30 a.m., Main Library, Fisher Children’s Center, 100 Larkin St.

Holiday Craft Workshops

Card Workshop: Children can create unique holiday cards.

Make & Take Crafts: Make crepe paper flower wreaths and needle-felted angels or ornaments. Take your masterpiece home in a new Glen Park reusable bag (while supplies last).  Refreshments served.

Dec. 4, 2-4 p.m. Glen Park Branch Library, 2825 Diamond St.

Jewelry-making with Chelsee Robinson: A fun, hands-on, jewelry workshop with local designer and entrepreneur Chelsee Robinson to create a beautiful bracelet, necklace, or earrings for the holidays. Materials provided. Pre-registration is required. For teens & tweens, ages 8 to 18. For more information, please contact Jewel at (415) 355-2888 or

Pens with Bling: Fashion and decorate your own pen and paper set. Great for holiday gifts! For ages 12-18. For information or to register, contact Marla at (415) 355-2868 or
Dec. 8, 4-5:30 p.m., Excelsior Branch Library, 4400 Mission St.

Recycled paper wreath: Use recycled paper to make a tiny stars paper wreath or a knot paper wreath. Materials provided or bring your own sturdy recycled paper. For teens and tweens, ages 8 to 18.
Dec. 10, 3:30-5:30 p.m., Chinatown Branch Library, 1135 Powell St.

Charms & Ornaments: Children can make shrink charms and ornaments with Mary Jane’s Attic.

Dec. 14, at 4 p.m., Ocean View Branch Library, 345 Randolph St.

Drop-in craft program: Children 7 and under can make something nice to give away as a gift or to decorate their home. 
Dec. 17, 3:30-5 p.m., Western Addition Branch Library, 1550 Scott St.

Trash mash-up crafts: The creative wizards from Trash Mash-Up show children  how to make cool holiday crafts using recycled materials. 
Dec. 18, at 1:15 p.m., Bernal Heights Branch Library, 500 Cortland Ave.

Holiday craft workshop: Last minute present? Need something to do now that school's closed for vacation? Come to the children's room and make something! For children ages 4-up.

Dec. 21, 2-5 p.m., Bernal Heights Branch Library, 500 Cortland Ave.

Needle-Felted Ornaments: Learn how to needle-felt, a fun and easy dry-felting method. Use a needle, wool and other basic tools to make a lovely holiday ornament. For ages 8 and older; tweens & teens welcome. Limited enrollment: call the children's librarian to reserve a space, (415) 355-5616.
Dec. 21, 4-5 p.m., Eureka Valley Branch Library, 1 Jose Sarria Court

Holiday Game Night

Celebrate the holidays with Game Night at the Excelsior Branch Library! Lots of games to play, for families and individuals of all ages, plus light holiday refreshments.

Dec. 15, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Excelsior Branch Library, 4400 Mission St.

Teen Winter Reading Contest

How it works: Beginning Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010, teens can visit a participating library and pick up a reading log. One reading log for every five hours read, then return the logs to a participating library by Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011. For every five hours read, a name will be automatically entered into a raffle for cool prizes! The more books that teens read, the more chances they have to win! Teens must be between 12 and 18 and have a San Francisco Public Library card to enter. Participation is free and prizes are funded by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.
Participating Branches: Bayview, Chinatown, Main Teen Center, North Beach, Parkside, Portola, Richmond, Visitacion Valley and West Portal. December 18 – January 8.

All programs at the Library are free. For more information, contact (415) 557-4277 or

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