Monthly Archives: January 2012

Call for Nominations for San Francisco Poet Laureate

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

January 20, 2012

Call for Nominations for San Francisco Poet Laureate

San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee and the San Francisco Poet Laureate Nominating Committee are seeking nominations for the sixth San Francisco Poet Laureate, to succeed Diane di Prima, 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) or CD (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 the San Francisco Public Library;
  • Participate in community-based poetry events, including a youth-centered event;
  • Work on one or more poetry-centered events in cooperation with the San Francisco Public Library;
  • Do a reading at Litquake.

San Francisco’s fifth Poet Laureate, Diane di Prima, appointed by Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2009, planned a series of poetry workshops for children and senior citizens at branch libraries and neighborhood centers aimed at empowering people to write and speak their stories. Previous Poet Laureates included 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 on February 29, 2012, 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.


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

January 19, 2012


Portraits by Joe Ramos for Project Homeless Connect

The San Francisco Public Library is pleased to present the exhibition, Acknowledged, featuring portraits of Project Homeless Connect clients taken by San Francisco photographer Joe Ramos. The photographs are on view January 28-March 25, in the San Francisco Main Library’s Jewett Gallery, 100 Larkin St.

Ramos began photographing the clients of Project Homeless Connect* in 2006, with his goal to give a personal face and voice to homelessness. All of the individuals that Ramos photographed agreed to have their pictures taken and were later given copies of the portraits.

Photo of EthelAn example includes the portrait Ethel. A descendant of Abraham Lincoln and also part Native American, Ethel sought stardom in Hollywood and eventually landed in San Francisco, pregnant at the time. She came to PHC to seek access to medical services, which led to her volunteering for the organization. Her desire to be photographed was, as she said, so she had “something to show my brother, to reassure him that I’m doing okay.”

Photo of Vanessa, Garry and their sonIn another photograph, Vanessa, Garry and Son, the viewer might not think that this family was dealing with homelessness because they look like the quintessential young family. Originally from Victorville, Calif., they moved to San Francisco to get away from a toxic drug environment. At the time of their portrait they had been living in a family shelter for several months. “Our son doesn’t even realize we were homeless.” Vanessa commented.

*The mission of Project Homeless Connect (PHC) is to provide a single location where nonprofit medical and social service providers collaborate to serve the homeless of San Francisco with comprehensive, holistic services.

About Photographer Joe Ramos:

Originally from the Salinas Valley, San Francisco photographer Joe Ramos has been photographing for more than 40 years. He studied photography at the San Francisco Art Institute with Richard Conrat, Dorothea Lange’s last assistant. He considers himself a documentary photographer and has large bodies of imagery from the Salinas Valley and San Francisco’s Mission District.

Ramos is most comfortable taking portraits which is evident in his images of people in his documentary work. His sensitivity towards his subjects and the trust they give in return imbue his images with great strength.

Since 2006 he has been taking portraits for San Francisco’s Project Homeless Connect, a non-profit that offers services to the city’s poor and homeless in bimonthly events held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. He has taken more than 1,000 portraits at these events and the archive of images from Project Homeless Connect has become a compendium of compelling portraits. Find more information at

Related Programs:

Opening program: A Community’s Response to Homelessness – A panel discussion by homeless advocates and clients. Speakers include photographer Joe Ramos; Rann Parker, director of the homeless outreach team at Project Homeless Connect; Kendra Stewardson, a Jefferson Award Winner, a homeless veteran and coordinator of the first Veteran’s Connect; Presidential Service Award recipient Henry Belton, a former Project Homeless Connect client  and employee, and Judith Klain, former director and founder of Project Homeless Connect. Jan. 28, 2 p.m., Main Library, Lower Level, Koret Auditorium.

Documentary Screening: Hope on the Streets followed by a Q & A with filmmaker Michael Isip. Feb. 23, 6 p.m. Main Library, Lower Level, Koret Auditorium.

The Growing Home Community Garden Tour and Talk: Tour of the Project Homeless Connect Hayes Valley Community Garden, where both homeless and housed San Franciscans work side by side to grow nutritious food, access green space and build community. March 15, 2 p.m., corner of Octavia and Lily streets. Space is limited, register for the tour and talk by sending an email to and include Growing Home Garden Tour in the subject line of the email. You may also register via phone at (415) 557-4277.

Library Journal Names Luis Herrera 2012 LJ Librarian of the Year



Krista Rafanello
Library Journal


New York, NY, January 10, 2012—It’s rare that a city mayor, board of supervisors, library commission and department heads, a union, and citizens of all types come together on anything, but that’s what happened in San Francisco when City Librarian Luis Herrera was nominated for the prestigious LJ Librarian of the Year award. Citywide support, including  recently elected Mayor Edwin Lee, users of  the city’s branch libraries, chiefs of other city departments, and members of the Librarians Guild of the Service Employees International Union made Luis Herrera the clear choice for the 2012 LJ Librarian of the Year. He was chosen by the editors of LJ.

Herrera earned broad respect by establishing a firm fiscal foundation for the San Francisco Public Library when he became City Librarian in 2005. He restarted the stalled Branch Library Improvement Program (BLIP) by boldly asking voters to extend for another 15 years a property tax set aside that was going to expire in 2009 and to grant the SFPL authority to issue revenue bonds. (This perspective and more is detailed in LJ’s January cover story, also available online at

“The measure passed. In fact, 75 percent of the voters were for it,” says Herrera. “There was tremendous cooperation with the mayor’s office. We all came up with creative solutions.” To date, 22 of the 24 branch projects have been completed.

Herrera’s understanding of the importance of teams, sensitive leadership, and shared management style have all contributed to his success. In addition, his ability to get things done by building partnerships with other city departments—the Police Department, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Environment, the Parks Department—is unique.

“I have a great team. My mentors all said, ‘Surround yourself with good people,’ and I did,” he says.

According to the article, by Library Journal’s John N. Berry III, “Such humility and kindness is key to Herrera’s success in San Francisco and to winning this award. In short, he got voters to extend SFPL support for 15 years. He employed his participatory management style to create a rare alliance between management and union. He invoked an ability to build strong and effective partnerships with other city departments, while his unusual brand of courage empowered staff teams to make management and organizational changes and decisions.”

Berry continues, “Herrera is LJ’s 2012 Librarian of the Year because of his joyous spirit and infectious optimism about libraries and his willingness to communicate that optimism to all those involved, especially the citizens of San Francisco.”

LJ’s 2012 Librarian of the Year Award will be presented to Herrera at a special awards dinner during the American Library Association’s Midwinter meeting in Dallas in January.

Library Journal is one of the oldest and most respected publications covering the library field. Over 100,000 library directors, administrators, and staff in public, academic, and special libraries read LJLibrary Journal reviews over 8,000 books, audiobooks, videos, databases, and Web sites annually, and covers technology, management, policy, and other professional concerns. Library Journal is a publication of Media Source Inc., which also owns School Library JournalThe Horn Book Magazine, and Junior Library Guild.

Media Source, Inc., serves the library community by combining school and public library expertise with access to some of the most respected brands and best minds in the world of children’s and young adult literature, collection development, and library management.

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

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

January 6, 2012

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

San Francisco Public Library Celebrates New Novel about San Francisco Foster Youth, Flowers and Family with Free Public Programs in January and February

San Francisco Public Library has chosen The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh as its On the Same Page book selection for the months of January and February and will offer an author talk and flower arranging classes to celebrate this wonderful book about foster youth, families and flowers.

Book jacket of the Language of FlowersOn Jan.24, 6 p.m. author Vanessa Diffenbaugh will read from her book, The Language of Flowers, and discuss her inspiration for the novel, as well as present a slide show about the Victorian language of flowers, at the San Francisco Main Library, Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin St., San Francisco. She will be joined by Isis Keigwin, CEO of Camellia Network, a national non-profit co-founded by Ms. Diffenbaugh. The mission of Camellia Network is to activate networks of citizens in every community to provide the critical support young people need to transition from foster care to adulthood. Book sales provided by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library’s Readers Bookstore and signing follows the program.

At two branch libraries in February, local florist Kathleen Dooley, owner of Columbine Design, will present The Art and Language of Flowers. This flower arranging demonstration will offer tips about the meaning of flowers and how to convey messages with colors, shapes and flower types that go beyond what’s written on the card. Dooley will also talk about different cultural meanings of flowers and colors and the audience will have time to discuss their own favorite flowers. These will be at the Glen Park branch, Feb. 25 at 2 p.m. and at the Richmond branch, Feb. 29 at 7 p.m.

About The Language of Flowers: Each year, nearly 20,000 young people “age out” of America’s foster care system, and many of them have nowhere to go. Writer Vanessa Diffenbaugh, who grew up in Northern California, has transformed this sad statistic into an extraordinary debut novel. Set in San Francisco and the Napa Valley, The Language of Flowers tells the visceral and deeply touching story of Victoria, a teen who has been discharged from foster care, leaving her alone and emotionally barricaded. It’s also a compelling story about spiritual hunger and the power of nature—and human connection—to help heal hearts. The book is available at all SFPL locations.