Monthly Archives: April 2017

Digital inclusion hits San Francisco May 8 – 13

For Immediate Release:
Media Contact: Katherine Jardine
(415) 557-4295;

Image of Digital Inclusion

Digital inclusion hits San Francisco May 8 – 13

San Francisco Public Library teams up with 20+ organizations to help bridge the digital divide

San Francisco, CA – Free technology skill-building classes, a Tech Expo for resources and services, films that provoke thought and discussion, and a host of innovative keynote speakers are all part of Digital Inclusion Week, a citywide initiative to reduce digital disparity and enhance the lives of San Francisco Bay Area residents, including seniors, people with disabilities, youth, and those seeking to expand their tech skills.
Digital Inclusion Week, May 8-13, is organized by the San Francisco Public Library and more than 20 partner organizations. Patrons can attend a tech expo to learn about technology programs, training resources, new services, and the latest products; participate in panel discussions with San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell and other policy makers, non-profits, and Internet Service Providers to discuss Internet accessibility and digital equity; view Lo and Behold, Werner Herzog’s film chronicling the virtual world; and be inspired by provocative tech creators and investors including Tim Chang (a Forbes Top Tech Investor), Jeff Kirschner (TED resident and a founder of Litterai), and Joshwa Browder (creator of DoNotPay) as they explore the rise of artificial intelligence, using technology for social change, and other topics. The SFPL TechMobile will be hosting 3D printing demonstrations.

Tech training programs are offered all week throughout the Library system and partner locations. Programs range from basic computer skills to advanced coding classes and are taught by library staff, tech workers, and industry professionals. Patrons are invited to participate in the Main Library’s Learning for Action game to build knowledge of technology resources while earning raffle tickets to increase the chances of winning the coveted finale prize, a Chromebook. Other Digital Inclusion Week prizes include laptops, a Roku Streaming Stick, USB Flash Drives, T-shirts, and more.

Related Programs

Panel Discussions –May 8, 10:30 a.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium

Tech Expo – May 9, 10:30 a.m., Main Library, Latino Hispanic Room

Speaker Series: Technology & Social Change – May 9, 5:30 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium

Visit for more information, including the calendar of all classes and events.

Digital Inclusion Week logo

Digital Inclusion Week Radio PSA
:15 seconds
Got Tech? Take the next step! Visit the San Francisco Public Library and more than 20 partnering organizations for a week full of free events that promote online access and technology skill building. Digital Inclusion Week is May 8 – 13 and includes panel discussions, film screenings, hands-on trainings, a tech expo and digital device give-aways. Visit for more information and to view the complete schedule.

Digital Inclusion partners




Tribute to Barack Obama lights up the library

For Immediate Release:
Media Contact:
Katherine Jardine
(415) 557-4295;

Tribute to Barack Obama lights up the library

Barack Obama: A Legacy of Hope

Image of Obama Exhibit

San Francisco, CA — The African American Center of the San Francisco Public Library presents a tribute to an American president who brought unbridled pride to the African American community and to millions of people around the world.  Items on display showcase Obama’s life from early childhood to his years in the White House.

The exhibit is curated by Francee Covington, former president of the San Francisco Fire Commission and current commission member. Exhibit materials are from her personal collection, and is a celebration of Obama’s election and his eight years of service as the 44th President of the United States of America. “I hope everyone will enjoy this exhibit and celebrate the fact that for eight years we had a compassionate gentleman and scholar as our president,” says Ms. Covington.

Barack Obama, a self-described “skinny kid with a funny name,” used the skills he honed as a community organizer and Harvard Law School graduate, along with strategies from his successful runs for Illinois State Senator and United States Senator, to become the first African American candidate from a major party to run for president.  His candidacy became a movement of hope and a time for change.

On November 4, 2008, Barack Hussein Obama, America’s first African American President, was elected the 44th President of the United States and his election marked an unprecedented step forward in American history, shattering racial barriers and forever altering the political landscape.

Barack Obama: A Legacy of Hope – On view through June 1, Main Library, African American Center, 3rd Floor

NEH awards leading San Francisco institutions $315,000 to digitize AIDS archives

For Immediate Release
Media Contact:
 Polina Ilieva


NEH awards leading San Francisco institutions $315,000 to digitize AIDS archives

Logo for NEH

San Francisco, CA – The Archives and Special Collections department of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Library, in collaboration with the San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender (GLBT) Historical Society, has been awarded a $315,000 implementation grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The collaborating institutions will digitize about 127,000 pages from 49 archival collections related to the early days of the AIDS epidemic in the San Francisco Bay Area and make them widely accessible to the public online. In the process, collections whose components had been placed in different archives for various reasons will be digitally reunited, facilitating access for researchers outside the Bay Area.

The 24-month project, “The San Francisco Bay Area’s Response to the AIDS Epidemic: Digitizing, Reuniting, and Providing Universal Access to Historical AIDS Records” will commence on July 1, 2017. The 127,000 pages from the three archives range from handwritten correspondence and notebooks to typed reports and agency records to printed magazines. Also included are photographic prints, negatives, transparencies, and posters. The materials will be digitized by the University of California, Merced Library’s Digital Assets Unit, which has established a reputation for digitizing information resources so that they can be made available to the world via the web. All items selected for digitization will be carefully examined to address any privacy concerns. The digital files generated by this project will be disseminated broadly through the California Digital Library, with the objects freely accessible to the public through both Calisphere, operated by the University of California, and the Digital Public Library of America, which will have an AIDS history primary sources set.

“A digital repository of 127,000 pages from 49 collections from these three institutions not only allows the collections to ‘speak’ to one another in novel ways, but makes them accessible to a broad array of audiences. Within academia, historians of medicine and public health will be joined by sociologists and historians of gender, sexuality, and journalism, for starters. They will be eager to make such remarkable primary source materials available to undergraduate, graduate, and medical students alike. But such materials have a far wider potential audience,” said Scott H. Podolsky, M.D., Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Center for the History of Medicine at the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

“The early years of the AIDS epidemic are just over the historical horizon for many who will themselves be forced to wrestle with issues of disease stigmatization and the blurred domains between medicine and society. These are our future patients, clinicians, politicians, and policymakers alike. It is thus important that such collections – documenting a central, if difficult, part of our nation’s history – be exposed to as wide a public as possible,” said Podolsky.

In the late 1980s, UCSF initiated, with the GLBT Historical Society and other Bay Area archives, the AIDS History Project, addressing the need to forge relationships between historians and the AIDS community to document and preserve the lessons and experience of the AIDS epidemic. Today UCSF, the GLBT Historical Society, and SFPL archivists have selected collections from each archive that will contribute to an understanding of the medical, social, and political processes that merged to develop effective means of treating those with AIDS, educate the public about HIV, create social support organizations for those who were often shunned by family, and advocate for a community that was dying at an alarming rate.

“The San Francisco Public Library houses both the City and County of San Francisco city archives and the James C. Hormel Gay and Lesbian Center, the first research center for GLBT collections in a public library in the country. In its role as the repository of the city archives, the library receives collections from politicians, including mayors, as well as from city departments, many addressing policy decisions and the creation of the “San Francisco model” in response to the devastation of the AIDS epidemic,” said Luis Herrera, San Francisco City Librarian. “Not only will the proposed collaborative project allow greater access to primary source materials that are located only in San Francisco, but it will ensure that these items are digitally preserved for long lasting use. We also welcome the opportunity to “reunite” collections that were given to multiple institutions in separate donations over time or from different donors.”

“Rarely in the history of human societies has there been an opportunity to capture information in real time about a new disease that became a pandemic. The story is multi-focal: the medical response, the cultural response, the political response, and the caregiving response”, said Victoria A. Harden, Founding Director Emerita, Office of NIH History.  Providing online access to the digital archival collections will benefit a diverse group of users, including scholars in disciplines such as history, literature, medicine, jurisprudence, journalism, and sociology; college and university students in an equally broad range of fields; media outlets; and members of the general public.

The project team has established a five-member Advisory Board that will be available to consult with project team members as needed to asses and resolve issues related to sensitive materials in the collections. Members include:

• Barbara A. Koenig, PhD, RN, Professor of Medical Anthropology & Bioethics in the Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences, Institute for Health & Aging and Head of UCSF Bioethics Program

• Phoebe Evans Letocha, Collections Management Archivist at Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

• Jeffrey Reznick, PhD, chief, History of Medicine division at National Library of Medicine

• Paul Volberding, Professor of Medicine, UCSF; Director, AIDS Research Institute; Director, Global Health Sciences Research; Co-Director, UCSF-GIVI Center for AIDS Research.

• Elizabeth Watkins, PhD, UCSF Dean of the Graduate Division, Vice Chancellor – Student Academic Affairs, and Professor in the Department of Anthropology, History, and Social Medicine

At the conclusion of the project, public access to the materials will be launched in a variety of ways. The availability on Calisphere and Digital Public Library of America will be promoted online, and the content of the collection will be explored through exhibits and public programs at each of the collaborating institutions, including at UC Merced. Finally, to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the 1989 “AIDS and the Historian” conference, a national conference on the history of the response to the AIDS epidemic will be presented in San Francisco.

“NEH provides support for projects across America that preserve our heritage, promote scholarly discoveries, and make the best of America’s humanities ideas available to all Americans,” said NEH Chairman William D. Adams. “We are proud to announce this latest group of grantees who, through their projects and research, will bring valuable lessons of history and culture to Americans.”

About UCSF Archives & Special Collections (UCSF Library)

The mission of the UCSF Archives & Special Collections is to identify, collect, organize, interpret, and maintain rare and unique material to support research and teaching of the health sciences and medical humanities and to preserve institutional memory. The UCSF AIDS History Project (AHP) began in 1987 as a joint effort of historians, archivists, AIDS activists, health care providers, scientists, and others to secure historically significant resources documenting the response to the AIDS crisis, its holdings currently include 42 collections and they continue to grow.

About the San Francisco History Center at San Francisco Public Library

The San Francisco History Center holds a comprehensive, non-circulating research collection covering all aspects of San Francisco history from the time of the area’s earliest habitation to the present day. The material sheds light on many aspects of the City’s history: its geography and architecture; its politics and government; the lives of citizens, both prominent and ordinary; and the contributions of ethnic, cultural and social groups in creating the City’s vibrant character. The Center also holds the official archives of the City and County of San Francisco.

About the GLBT Historical Society

As an internationally recognized leader in the field of LGBTQ public history, the GLBT Historical Society collects, preserves and interprets the history of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and the communities that support them. Founded in 1985, the society maintains one of the world’s largest collections of LGBTQ historical materials at its archives and research center in San Francisco’s Mid-Market District, in addition to operating the GLBT History Museum in the Castro neighborhood since 2011. For more information, visit

About UC Merced Library

The UC Merced Library opened its doors to the inaugural class of University of California, Merced students in August 2005. From the beginning, the library has been the hub of the campus and a center for innovation. As a center of expertise in the digitization, curation, publication, and preservation of information resources, the Digital Assets unit enables and assures long-term access to digital collections that support the research areas of the UC Merced intellectual community and beyond.

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at:

Talking With Kids About Race – Raising Safe, Informed, & Engaged Kids in 2017

For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Katherine Jardine
(415) 557-4295;

Talking With Kids About Race
Raising Safe, Informed, & Engaged Kids in 2017

Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden to provide opening remarks

San Francisco, CA — San Francisco Public Library is holding the second in a series of progressive programs that aim to help parents, educators, and caregivers talk to kids about race and power. A diverse group of speakers will participate in a panel discussion about protecting children’s safety and raising them to be resilient and proud of their identities, while also showing up for their friends.

The panel discussion will be kicked off with a welcome from the Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden.


  • Toni Hines, parent organizer at Coleman Advocates
  • Carla Marie Munoz, Costanoan Rumsen Ohlone Tribe artist, singer and dancer
  • Abdul Benterkia, Program Officer with Building Leaders in Innovative New Giving (BLING), and an Arab Youth Organization (AYO!) Leader
  • Alex Vasquez, Youth Intern with Our Family Coalition
  • Julie Roberts-Phung, Co-founder of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Families


  • Karen Zapata, activist, teacher at June Jordan High School, and board member of Teachers 4 Social Justice
  • Chalida Anusasananan, teacher librarian at Everett Middle School and member of Teachers 4 Social Justice

The panel covers topics on race, gender, and power dynamics, with families of color and families with other marginalized identities at the center of the conversation. Participants will gain advice on how to raise children to be proud of who they are and support them to be empowered and resilient. Families will learn to identify and acknowledge their privileged identities and help children understand how to be more aware of privilege and share it for justice.

Talking With Kids About Race: A Panel Discussion — April 22, 3:30-5:30 p.m., Koret Auditorium, Main Library

Talking With Kids About Race: A Panel Discussion is presented by SFPL with community partners: Showing up for Racial Justice (SURJ), Teachers 4 Social Justice, Our Family Coalition, Main Street Mamas, San Francisco Families Union, Abundant Beginnings, First 5 San Francisco, and San Francisco Unified School District.

About Dr. Carla Hayden
Carla Hayden was sworn in as the 14th Librarian of Congress on September 14, 2016. Hayden, the first woman and the first African American to lead the national library, was nominated to the position by President Barack Obama on February 24, 2016, and her nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 13. Prior to her latest post she served, since 1993, as CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland. Hayden was president of the American Library Association from 2003 to 2004. In 1995, she was the first African American to receive Library Journal’s Librarian of the Year Award in recognition of her outreach services at the Pratt Library.

talking with kids logos

Library’s Scholar Card amps up access for over 55,000 students

For Immediate Release:
Media Contact: Katherine Jardine
(415) 557-4295;

Image of students

Library’s Scholar Card amps up access for over 55,000 students

Unique partnership between SFPL and SFUSD promotes academic success

San Francisco, CA, April 13, 2017– Beginning today, and coinciding with National Library Week, signing up for a public library card is much simpler for students in the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). As part of the ConnectED Library Challenge, developed by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and initiated by the Obama administration, SFPL and SFUSD have partnered to provide all SFUSD students with an exclusive youth library card: the Scholar Card.

The first group of students to activate their cards was Ms. Park’s 3rd grade class, of the Tenderloin Community Elementary School. On Thursday morning, in the school’s brightly lit library, 18 students listened with full attention as SFPL Children’s Librarian Jim Jeske read aloud from Leo, A Ghost Story, a book illustrated by local artist and Scholar Card illustrator Christian Robinson. “Now are you ready to receive your very own special Scholar Library Card?” Jim asked the class, to full applause and awe. Christian Robinson handed out Scholar Cards to each student as City Librarian Luis Herrera encouraged the class to visit their neighborhood branch libraries to take advantage of the new world they now have access to.

Included in attendance to celebrate the launch of the new library card was SFUSD Superintendent Myong Leigh, the Mayor’s Senior Adviser on Education & Family Services Hydra Mendoza-McDonell and Library Commission President Dr. Mary Wardell Ghirarduzzi.

“I know, as President Obama knew, that libraries transform lives,” said Library Commission President Wardell Ghirarduzzi. “They are spaces of equity and inclusion, especially for our most marginalized in society. Today we provide a basic human right of access to knowledge through the district wide-unveiling of Scholar Cards. I’m so proud to be part of this transformation for the youngest residents of San Francisco.”

Over 55,000 students in 130 schools now have access to Scholar Cards and can begin checking out books, use online tools and access millions of free resources at all Library locations and via

“The Library is a sanctuary for students and supports the values of equity, inclusion and community,” said City Librarian Herrera. “We look forward to providing students with free access to limitless learning resources.”

SFUSD students can easily activate their library account in any library location and select a special commemorative library card designed by award-winning local artist Christian Robinson, courtesy of Chronicle Books.

The Scholar Card aims to eliminate barriers to access by providing students with a clean slate; all pre-existing fees for previously lost items are forgiven upon activation.  There are no overdue fines for youth cards.

With Scholar Cards, for free, students can:

  •        Access Library research databases
  •        Access language learning tools
  •        Receive online homework help
  •        Borrow digital materials such as e-books, e-audiobooks and magazines
  •        Stream video and music
  •        Borrow up to 50 print, audio books, DVDs or CDs

For educators, the Library offers a free Teacher Library Card, allowing San Francisco teachers to borrow library materials for longer, to request more reserves, and to request multiple copies of the same items.  This effort is part of an ongoing commitment by the San Francisco Public Library to support academic success.

Images of Scholar Cards

Scholar Card Radio PSA
:30 seconds

Because library cards are the best school supply: language learning tools, online homework help, bundles of books and streaming media – these are just a few of the millions of FREE resources that all SFUSD students now have instant access to, thanks to a unique partnership between San Francisco Public Library and the San Francisco Unified School District. Introducing the Scholar Card: the key to academic success! Easy, streamlined application process with all pre-existing fees waived. Beginning April 13, visit any library location to select a commemorative new Scholar Card design. More information at

Scholar Card partners

Library Launches New Youth Library Card

For Immediate Release:
Media Contact: Katherine Jardine
(415) 557-4295;

Invitation to Cover / Photo Opportunity

Images of Scholar Cards

 Library Launches New Youth Library Card
Unique partnership between SFPL and SFUSD promotes academic success

WHAT:  City Librarian Luis Herrera and SFUSD officials celebrate National Library Week with the launch of SFPL’s exclusive new Scholar Card, an all-access youth library card connecting over 55,000 SFUSD students to millions of free resources.

WHEN:  Today – Thursday, April 13, 11 a.m.

WHERE:  SFUSD Tenderloin Community Elementary School, 627 Turk St


  • City Librarian, Luis Herrera
  • SFUSD Superintendent, Myong Leigh
  • Board of Education Vice President, Hydra Mendoza-McDonnell
  • Library Commission President, Dr. Mary Wardell Ghirarduzzi
  • Brad Williston, SFUSD Teacher Librarian Administrator
  • Principle Anastasia Shattner
  • Ms. Park’s 3rd grade class
  • Jim Jeske, SFPL Children’s Librarian
  • Jaime Wong, Chronicle Books
  • Christian Robinson, Illustrator

THE SCHOLAR CARD:  San Francisco Public Library has teamed up with the San Francisco Unified School District to provide every SFUSD student with a public library card: The Scholar Card. The Scholar Card simplifies the library card application process and connects students to millions of free resources, such as online homework help, language learning tools and streaming media. The Scholar Card eliminates barriers to access by providing students with a “clean slate”; all fees are waived upon activation.

High resolution images available upon request.

Scholar Card partners