One City One Book - 2012 Events

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  • Author Programs
  • Related Programs
  • Book Discussions
  • Disaster Preparedness
  • Exhibitions
  • Film Programs

Author Programs

Party Like It’s 1906: One City One Book 2012 Launch & Celebration with Rebecca Solnit
Friday, September 7  - 7pm
McRoskey Mattress Company - 1687 Market Street at Gough, SF
$5 suggested donation at the door, to support One City One Book
Wheelchair accessible; For more information: (415) 431-6800

Join the San Francisco Public Library, The Green Arcade and McRoskey Mattress Company to celebrate the citywide reading of A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster. with music from the acclaimed Tammy Hall Trio, 1906-inspired bites (think oysters, sourdough bread and beer) and a talk from San Francisco writer Rebecca Solnit, the author of thirteen books about art, landscape, public and collective life, ecology, politics, hope, meandering, reverie, and memory.
One City One Book author Rebecca Solnit in Conversation on Disaster and Democracy with SF Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White
Thursday, October 11 - 6 p.m.
Main Library, Koret Auditorium
100 Larkin St., (415) 557-4277

One City One Book 2012 author Rebecca Solnit will discuss her book A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster with SF’s Fire Chief. A Paradise Built in Hell explores our need for community and common purpose, which Solnit argues are fundamental to democratic forms of social and political life. This year, as part of the 8th annual One City One Book, SFPL is participating in California Reads, a statewide reading and discussion program created by Cal Humanities in partnership with the California Center for the Book and supported by the California State Library. For more information, visit

San Francisco writer Rebecca Solnit is the author of thirteen books about art, landscape, public and collective life, ecology, politics, hope, meandering, reverie, and memory. They include Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas, a book of 22 maps and nearly 30 collaborators, Storming the Gates of Paradise; A Field Guide to Getting Lost; Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities; Wanderlust: A History of Walking and many others.

Joanne Hayes-White was sworn in as the 25th Chief of the San Francisco Fire Department on January 16, 2004. San Francisco is the largest urban fire department in the world with a female chief. Prior to her appointment as Chief, Hayes-White served as the Director of Training for the San Francisco Fire Department, where she oversaw recruit training, in-service training, continuing education, and Firefighter-Paramedic cross training. Chief Hayes-White has been recognized by the San Francisco Business Times as one of the City’s Most Influential Women of the Year every year since 2004.

Rebecca will be signing books after the program.
Seating is limited. Doors open at 5:45 p.m.
Presented in partnership with Litquake. Book sales by Readers’ Bookstore

Thursday, October 18 – 7pm
Author reading at Books Inc. Opera Plaza
601 Van Ness Ave., (415) 776-1111

Related Programs

Japantown: Then and Now
Saturday, September 8 – 2pm
Western Addition Branch Library, 1550 Scott Street (at Geary)

Join City Guides volunteer Marian Halley as she tells the story of San Francisco's Japantown, highlighting its establishment after the earthquake and fire of 1906, the growth of a vibrant community, the internment of its Japanese-American population during World War II, and the impact of urban renewal on Japantown in the 1960s; down to the present times and victories won to keep the neighborhood united during the redistricting process.

Searching for Democracy: A Poetry Reading
Sunday, September 30 – 2-3:30pm
San Francisco Fire Department Museum
655 Presidio Avenue, SF

What can poetry tell us about democracy? By engaging the personal with the public, these four poets invite the reader to join a conversation about the responsibility of the individual to confront and question the current state of our politics.

Peter Dale Scott’s poetry books include Coming to Jakarta: A Poem about Terror, Listening to the Candle: A Poem on Impulse, Crossing Borders, Minding the Darkness: A Poem for the Year 2000, and Mosaic Orpheus. His most recent prose book is American War Machine.

Xochiqueztal Candelaria holds degrees from UC Berkeley and New York University. Her work has appeared in The Nation, New England Review, Gulf Coast, Seneca Review and other magazines. In 2009, Ms. Candelaria received an NEA Fellowship, and her book, Empire, was published by The University of Arizona Press in 2011.

Chiyuma Elliott is a Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University, and a Cave Canem Fellow. In fall of 2013, she will be Assistant Professor of English and African American Studies at the University of Mississippi. She lives in Oakland, California with her husband and two noisy dogs.

Jeff Hoffman has been a Stegner Fellow at Stanford, a Chesterfield screenwriting fellow at Paramount Pictures, and a Michener fellow at the University of Texas, where he received his MFA. His first book of poems, Journal of American Foreign Policy was published by New Issues in 2011 and was a finalist for a California Book Award. He lives in Los Angeles and is currently a creative executive at Phoenix Pictures.

October 3, Wednesday
State Senate District 11, 5:30

State Senate District 19, 6:30
League of Women Voters candidate debates
Main Library, Koret Auditorium
The California Earthquake Drill, ShakeOut

Shake Out posterShakeOut is California’s state-wide drop, cover and hold on earthquake drill and will take place Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 10:18am. The purpose of the ShakeOut drill is practice and preparation: refining our response during an earthquake and preparing our homes, workplaces and schools for the possibility of an earthquake. Register at and join the rest of California in the largest earthquake drill in history.

October 30, 6:00 pm
Main Library, Koret Auditorium
Light in Darkness
Film presentation of Light in the Darkness by Not in Our Town
A panel discussion follows the film.
November 8, 6:30 pm
Main Library, Koret, Auditorium
Knocking on Heaven’s Door
Lecture on post 1906 San Francisco Earthquake photography with Dr. Rodger C. Birt

Book Discussions about A Paradise Built in Hell

Wednesday, September 26th - 6:30pm
Mission Bay Branch
Thursday September 27, 4pm
Bernal Heights Branch
Wednesday October 10, 7pm
Intersection for the Arts/925 Mission Street #109
Sunday, October 28, 3pm
Noe Valley Branch
Monday, October 29, 7pm
Sunset Branch
Tuesday, November 6 - 7pm
Merced Branch book club

Be Red Cross Ready/Disaster Preparedness Workshops

Do you know what to do in an earthquake? How will you reconnect with your family following a major disaster? Do you have the right items in your disaster kit? Every single person in the Bay Area needs to ensure they are personally prepared for disaster. Only in this way will all of us in the community be able to ensure the safety of our families and assist our neighbors

September 1, 3pm
Visitacion Valley Branch
September 19, 6:30pm
Western Addition Branch
September 22, 3:30pm (Cantonese presentation)
Excelsior Branch
September 25, 6:30pm
Excelsior Branch
September 26, 6:30pm (Spanish presentation)
Excelsior Branch
October 6, 2pm
Ingleside Branch
October 7, 2pm
Portola Branch
October 13, 2:30pm (Cantonese presentation)
Chinatown Branch
October 14, 2pm (Cantonese presentation)
Portola Branch
October 27, 3:30pm
Glen Park Branch
Disaster Preparedness for Animals
The San Francisco Disaster Preparedness Coalition for Animals will present a workshop on how to prepare and take care of your pet during a disaster.
October 10, 7pm
Bernal Heights Branch


Street Food: 1906 Earthquake Kitchens: September 8-November 1, 2012
Larkin Street Bridge

This fall, the San Francisco Public Library is exploring local author Rebecca Solnit’s A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster for our One City One Book 2012/California Reads program.

After the 1906 Earthquake and Fire, San Francisco citizens banded together to feed their neighbors. Improvised kitchens with free food and warm social spaces developed as people gathered to cook and eat. As Rebecca Solnit says about one such improvised kitchen organizers, “Just as her kitchen was one of many spontaneously launched community centers and relief projects, so her resilient resourcefulness represents the ordinary response in many disasters. In them, strangers become friends and collaborators, goods are shared freely, people improvise new roles for themselves.”

The photos in this display, found in the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection, located in the San Francisco History Center on the 6th floor, show a city torn but banding together for survival and, as will be found with good food, even some pleasure in the face of disaster.

November 4, 2008 Voting Series
On November 4, 2008 America changed. People woke up and move by the possibilities they took action. People voted. Polling sites became symbols of renewal. This series of 15 gouache paintings by Santa Cruz artist Myra Eastman narrates our collective awakening.  On display in Government Information Center from 8/18 – 11/8/12.

Film Screenings

The San Francisco Public Library presents

Large Screen Videos | Thursdays at Noon | Koret Auditorium, Main Library, Lower Level

Films about Elections
October 4
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

James Stewart won the New York Critics Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Mr. Smith, an idealistic country boy who goes to Washington as a short-term senator. Disillusionment sets in slowly as he realizes the political games being played in the nation's Capitol. His fight to expose the corruption to the public brings the film to a moving finish. 1939, 130 minutes
October 11
Bob Roberts

Tim Robbins’ directorial debut is a dead-on "mockumentary" of a right-wing folksinger’s senatorial campaign, complete with paranoid campaign director, inane TV anchors, investment scandals, and MTV-style music videos. This shrewd, funny political satire combines the best of election year politics with the stinging wit of political humor. 1992, 102 minutes 
October 18
Wag the Dog

Dustin Hoffman and Robert DeNiro lead an all-star cast in Barry Levinson’s WAG THE DOG. This comedy focuses on the machination of power as a presidential spin doctor (Robert DeNiro) teams with a celebrated Hollywood producer (Dustin Hoffman) to manufacture a fake war. The film also stars Anne Heche, Denis Leary and Willie Nelson. Less than two weeks before election day, a scandal erupts that threatens to cripple the President’s bid for a second term. The ultimate spin doctor, Conrad Brean (Robert DeNiro) has the uncanny ability to manipulate politics, the press and most importantly - the American people. 1997, 97 minutes
October 25

Tracy Enid Smith (Reese Witherspoon) is running unopposed in the upcoming election for high school student body president. Unfortunately, a teacher (Matthew Broderick) who dislikes her grooms an underdog candidate to run against her. This, of course, sets the stage for considerable political backbiting in this witty comedy. 1999; 103 minutes

All films are shown with captions when possible to assist our deaf and hard of hearing.

October 16, 2012, 5pm
Swing Vote
Main Library - Latino/Hispanic B

Get out the vote at SFPL!  The San Francisco Public Library presents an evening screening of the film Swing Vote, starring Kevin Costner, Paula Patton, Dennis Hopper, George Lopez, and more.  The Department of Elections will be here at 5 PM to register voters for the upcoming presidential election.  The film starts at 5:30 - bring a friend and come on down for some election-season laughs!  Rated PG-13, 120 minutes.

Voter Empowerment Film Series
Presented by the African American Interest Committee of the San Francisco Public Library and One City One Book 2012.
September 29, 11:30am-5:30pm
Main Library, Koret Auditorium

Freedom on My Mind (1994)  Showtime - 11:30a-1:15p
Nominated for an Academy Award, winner of both the American Historical Association and the Organization of American Historians awards for best documentary, this landmark film tells the story of the Mississippi freedom movement in the early 1960s when a handful of young activists changed history. Running time: 105 mins.

Chisholm ‘72 : Unbought and Unbossed (2004)  Showtime - 1:30p-2:45p
In 1968, Shirley Chisholm becomes the first black woman elected to Congress. In 1972, she becomes the first black woman to run for president. Shunned by the political establishment, she's supported by a motley crew of blacks, feminists, and young voters. Their campaign-trail adventures are frenzied, fierce and fundamentally right on! Running time: 76 mins.

By The People: The Election of Barack Obama (2009)  Showtime - 3p-5p
Millions saw history made as Barack Obama took the podium on election night. But few witnessed his unguarded moments in the hours and days before he greeted the nation - until now. Witness never before seen footage of Obama behind the scenes, as well as interviews and candid moments with family, senior campaign staff, volunteers, reporters, supporters and even opponents. Running time: 116 mins.
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