Monthly Archives: April 2012

Oakland and San Francisco Announce First Annual Youth Poet Laureate Competitions

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

April 26, 2012

Cities of Oakland and San Francisco Announce First Annual Youth Poet Laureate Competitions

The Cities of Oakland and San Francisco are each about to gain new, young, and articulate representatives. For the first time ever, the Oakland Public Library and San Francisco Public Library, in partnership with Youth Speaks (the country’s leading nonprofit presenter of spoken word performance, education and youth development programs), are staging competitions that will result in two Youth Poet Laureates, one from each city. The winners will each be honored with $5,000 in scholarships and the opportunity to officially represent their communities through poetry, media, and public appearances. The search for talented young writers (age 13-18) begins Sunday, April 1 – just in time for National Poetry Month – when judges will begin accepting submissions. The deadline for all submissions is May 15. Finalists will be announced in early July, and the winners will be announced in September. (See below for submissions guidelines.)

Through a competitive process judged by local leaders and celebrity authors (including renowned artists Arisa White and Marc Bamuthi Joseph), the Youth Poet Laureate initiative will celebrate exceptional teen poets who represent the best of the Bay Area. The winning poet in each city will receive a $5,000 educational scholarship and will serve as an ambassador for arts, education and youth expression during a year of public service and academic enrichment, including publication of their work in an anthology.

Oakland-based poet Arisa White (author of Hurrah’s Nest, 2012) is one of several acclaimed writers volunteering to judge the competition. “As a poet who believes in the transformative and healing power of poetry, it is necessary for me to support young people being active and influential citizens through their writing,” said White, who was recently featured on hip-hop mogul Jay-Z’s website. “I’m excited to be a part of this project, because it celebrates and honors young people and their perspective, their stories, their voices, their creative minds, and their ability to influence the communities around them.”

“Young writers today are at a crossroads,” said project coordinator Amy Sonnie, Teen Outreach Librarian of the Oakland Public Library. “Dwindling budgets for school arts and library media centers send mixed messages about the value of art and literacy, even as state academic guidelines taut the importance of 21st century learning. The Youth Poet Laureate competition is for young people who write to send their own message, their own way. This first-of-its-kind contest celebrates the hard work of young poets who turn to paper and pen, the microphone and even YouTube to speak their truth and make us think deeply about our world. The Bay Area has long been home to this kind of young talent. Now, we invite those honest, brave, original voices to apply and win the top literary honor in their city.”

Youth, parents and teachers can learn more and apply online at: To be eligible, finalists must be 13-18 years old and a current resident of the city for which they apply.
Help sessions for applicants will be held in late April and early May. For more information contact Amy Sonnie at 510-238-7233.

The competition is supported by a broad coalition of fifteen partner agencies across the Bay Area:

  • Oakland Public Library
  • San Francisco Public Library
  • Youth Speaks
  • Oakland Unified School District
  • San Francisco Unified School District
  • Oakland School of the Arts
  • 826 Valencia
  • SF WritersCorps
  • Youth Radio
  • Streetside Stories
  • Write-to-Read and Alameda County Library
  • ProArts Gallery
  • San Francisco Department of Children Youth and Families
  • Mills College Community Teaching Project
  • Generations Literary Journal

Note: Partner agencies are available for on-camera interviews. Audio PSAs will also be available.

Jerry Pinkney to Speak at Effie Lee Morris Lecture

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

April 24, 2012

Illustrator and Author Jerry Pinkney to Speak at San Francisco Public Library’s 16th Annual Effie Lee Morris Lecture

Tuesday, May 15, 2012, San Francisco Main Library

Jerry Pinkney, renowned illustrator and winner of the 2010 Caldecott Medal for The Lion & the Mouse, will deliver San Francisco Public Library’s 16th annual Effie Lee Morris Lecture May 15.

Cover of the Lion and the MouseMr. Pinkney, a native of Philadelphia, has been illustrating children’s books since 1964, and his lush, colorful watercolors have graced more than 100 titles. His large body of work includes illustrations for numerous folk tales from around the world and collaborations with authors such as Julius Lester, Robert D. San Souci, and Patricia McKissack. His illustrations for The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy, a book that celebrates the strength of African-American families, won the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration in 1986.

In receiving the Caldecott Medal in 2010, which is given annually to an artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children, Mr. Pinkney became the first individual African American to win the prestigious award. Mr. Pinkney also has been recognized with five Caldecott honor medals, five New York Times’ “best illustrated books,” recognitions, five Coretta Scott King awards, and four Coretta Scott King honor awards.

Photo of Jerry PickneyMr. Pinkney’s lecture, “A Sense of Place Real and Imagined,” will begin at 6 p.m., May 15, in the Koret Auditorium, San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin St. A reception and book signing at 5 p.m. will precede the program. In addition, an exhibition of Mr. Pinkney’s facsimiles of original manuscript illustrations and artists’ tools is on view through May 31, 2012, in the Fisher Children’s Center, Second Floor, San Francisco Main Library.

The Effie Lee Morris Lecture was established in 1996 to expand upon the idea of looking at children through their literature. The series is named in honor of Effie Lee Morris, who was the first coordinator of children’s services at the San Fran­cisco Public Library from 1963 to 1977. As one of the pioneer children’s services leaders in the country, Morris was responsible for the development of the broad range of Library services now available to the children of San Francisco. She also developed the children’s historical and research collection—which is also named in her honor—to meet the needs of Bay Area researchers studying our view of children and their world as reflected in the books written for them.

Friends of the San Francisco Public Library and the local chapter of the Women’s National Book Association together sponsor the annual lecture series.

The program and exhibit are free and open to the public. For more information, contact (415) 557-4277.

A Paradise Built in Hell Chosen for Citywide Book Club

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

April 18, 2012

San Franciscans Will Be Reading A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster for this fall’s Citywide Book Club

Rebecca Solnit book chosen as part of California Reads, a statewide reading and discussion program created by Cal Humanities.

Book cover of A Paradise Built in HellIn commemoration of the anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake today, San Francisco Public Library announced that it has selected San Francisco author Rebecca Solnit’s book, A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster, for its fall citywide book club. The selection was announced at San Francisco’s annual earthquake commemoration ceremony at Lotta’s Fountain at 5 a.m.

This year, as part of the 8th annual One City One Book, San Francisco Public Library is participating in California Reads, a statewide reading and discussion program created by Cal Humanities (formerly the California Council for the Humanities) in partnership with the California Center for the Book and supported by the California State Library.

California Reads encourages Californians from all walks of life to participate in reading and discussion programs and related activities around the theme of democracy in 2012. San Francisco Public Library has selected A Paradise Built in Hell because of its strong connection to the city and its exploration of the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake.

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. Blending reportage and analysis, the book surveys natural and man-made disasters including the ’06 earthquake, the Halifax explosion of 1917, the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, the Sept. 11th attacks, and Hurricane Katrina.  Solnit takes a positive view of human behavior showing that disasters can actually create a sense of community and purposefulness. A community’s typical response to catastrophe is self-organization and mutual aid–truly democracy in action–with neighbors and strangers rescuing, feeding and housing each other.

This fall, San Francisco Public Library will be offering a number of discussion groups, films, preparedness workshops and more events on the theme of the book, including a talk with the author on Oct. 11, 2012.

San Francisco Public Library’s activities are one of hundreds taking place in 2012 across the state as part of Cal Humanities Searching for Democracy program.

Gold & Silver & Green

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

April 18, 2012

Gold & Silver & Green

Four San Francisco Public Libraries Receive LEED certification from U.S. Green Building Council

In recognition of Earth Day 2012, San Francisco Public Library is proud to announce that four of its renovated branch libraries have now received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Both the Park and Anza branch libraries were certified LEED Gold. The Presidio and Parkside branch libraries were certified LEED Silver.

Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third party verification that a building was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO₂ emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

All four of the branch libraries were renovated in the city’s Branch Library Improvement Program, the largest capital improvement program in San Francisco Public Library’s history. Each of the historic renovations of the buildings was undertaken in partnership with Department of Public Works and San Francisco Environment, with careful consideration for environmental concerns. This included adopting green building construction practices such as recycling and locally sourcing materials, improving energy and water efficiencies in each building, improving airflow and lighting, and including signage to highlight the environmental features inside each building as learning tools for the community. All four branches reopened in the past 18 months.

“Thanks to a remarkable collaboration among city agencies, each of these buildings was carefully renovated to not only protect their historic features but also to ensure we were preparing our buildings to be models of sustainability for the future,” said Department of Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru. “These green building efforts show that our libraries, which offer an important civic service and community space for our neighborhoods, are also leading the way as examples of the best green building practices in the nation.”

To celebrate achieving these prestigious LEED certifications, all four branch libraries will host open house events and tours, featuring entertainment and refreshments later this month or in June.

Schedule of LEED Open House events:

All library events are free and open to the public. The LEED celebrations are supported by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

A Change of World: In Memory of Adrienne Rich

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

April 16, 2012

A Change of World: In Memory of Adrienne Rich

Poetry Reading, April 25, San Francisco Main Library

San Francisco Public Library and the James C. Hormel Gay and Lesbian Center will present an evening of poetry to celebrate the life and work of Adrienne Rich.

When: Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 6 p.m.

Where: San Francisco Main Library, Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center, 3rd Floor, 100 Larkin St.

The event will feature poets reading Rich’s poetry and/or poems inspired by her and will include: Elana Dykewomon, Jewelle Gomez, Peter Orner, Aaron Shurin, Justin Chin, Robin Ekiss, Ali Liebegott, Teya Schaffer, Arisa White, Lucy Jane Bledsoe, Kevin Simmonds, Stephen Kopel, Toni Mirosevich, Drea Brown, Kevin Killian and Christian Gullette.

Described by the New York Times as having “an unswerving progressive vision and a dazzling, empathic ferocity, (who) brought the oppression of women and lesbians to the forefront of poetic discourse,” Rich passed away at her home in Santa Cruz on March 27, 2012. A MacArthur genius, she wrote two dozen volumes of poetry and more than a half-dozen of prose and was considered a godmother to many writers in the Bay Area literary world.

This event is free and open to the public.

Win a Visit from the SFPL Green Bookmobile!

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

April 5, 2012

Win a Visit from the San Francisco Public Library Green Bookmobile!

Celebrate National Bookmobile Day with photo clues of the new Green Bookmobile at Iconic San Francisco Locations

In honor of National Bookmobile Day and National Library Week, San Francisco Public Library is giving away a chance to win a two-hour bookmobile visit to a location of your choosing. From April 6 to April 16, visit the San Francisco Public Library website ( and follow the highlighted photo clue to guess the location of SFPL’s green bookmobile.

San Francisco is known for its iconic landmarks, from the Cable Cars to Fisherman’s Wharf. The Green Bookmobile is taking its place among these landmarks and we’re inviting everyone to join in the fun by guessing the bookmobile’s location at six notable sites.

The Contest Details*: Starting on April 6and continuing to April 16, photo glimpses of six iconic San Francisco locations will be on the SFPL website ( Correctly guess the landmark location where the bookmobile was parked, and you could win a personal visit from the bookmobile. Imagine having a bookmobile come to your San Francisco school or workplace, your favorite neighborhood hang out (be it bar or barber shop), your kid’s birthday party, your book group or a neighborhood block party.  Here’s the trick, the photo will only reveal a peek, so you’ll have to use your knowledge of San Francisco geography and landmarks to figure out the exact location. Go to, click on the bookmobile highlight on the home page and enter your guess. Check back often to guess all six locations and see the full photos of the bookmobile visiting San Francisco landmarks.

Our Celebration of Bookmobiles is your chance to enjoy a bookmobile where you want!

Photo of Green BookmobileFive bookmobiles roll the streets of San Francisco every week: the Early Literacy Mobile, the Library-on- Wheels/Senior Bookmobile, Treasure Island Bookmobile, the Youth Mobile and the new Green Bookmobile, which runs on 20 percent biodiesel and is specially equipped with four solar panels, vents for air conditioning, skylights for natural light, sustainably forested wood, recycled content in the carpet, and a hybrid generator that turns off when fully charged and back on when  the charge gets low. It has a special Green Stacks collection of environmental themed materials as well as a variety of juvenile, teen and adult materials available for check out with an SFPL library card.

Visit our online bookmobile schedule to find more places to hop on board a bookmobile in April, get a bookmobile coloring sheet, learn about the history of bookmobiles, share bookmobile tales on Facebook, read books about bookmobiles, check out our bookmobile images on Pinterest, and pick up a bookmobile-flavored lip balm on board a bookmobile this month.

*Contest Limitations: One entry per email per day; winner will be determined randomly from all correct entries; bookmobile prize location must be in the City and County of San Francisco; SFPL must be able to secure safe and legal parking for a 30 foot bookmobile; exact date and time subject to staffing and vehicle availability; visit limited to 2 hours.