Monthly Archives: January 2019

More Than A Month: The Library Celebrates African American History, Culture and History

For Immediate Release:

January 17, 2019

Media Contact: Mindy Linetzky
(415) 557-4252;

Banner artwork by Ron Moultrie Saunders

More Than A Month

The Library celebrates African American history, culture and heritage

SAN FRANCISCO, CA– Since 1926, Black History week – and later month – has promoted important historical events, contributions, leadership and activism of African Americans. The Library calls our Black History Month celebrations More Than a Month, in an effort to emphasize that reflection, open dialogue, interdisciplinary education and shared advocacy needs to take place in our communities every month, all year round.

Beginning on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday weekend and throughout February, the Library champions Black history, culture and heritage with special music, dance, crafts and storytelling events at every branch in the City. More Than a Month features film screenings and literary events for adults, interactive events for teens, hands-on activities for kids, and exhibits, music and craft classes for the whole family.

Author talks and lectures will cover the intersection of race and baseball, a reading from the memoir of a Black Panther Party member, the speeches of Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King, San Francisco Civil War stories and the history of African Americans in Visitacion Valley. Hands-on crafts for all ages include African paper necklaces, quilt-making in the tradition of Gee’s Bend and treasure boxes in the style of Tyree Guyton, the Detroit artist who fancifully decorated abandoned homes in his neighborhood. There’s even a special Motown/Disco Drag Queen Story Hour at two neighborhood branches!

The Black & Brown Comix Arts Festival celebrates the creativity of people of color in the comic arts and popular visual culture. This year’s celebration features Rebecca Roanhorse, Nebula and Hugo winner and author of Trail of Lightning in conversation with Daniel Jose Older, author of Shadowshaper. Also appearing are graphic novelists Mario Hernandez and cast members of the film Black Panther.

Two new exhibits showcase rarely told Black history. Unsung Heroes, an exhibit produced by the San Francisco African American Historical and Cultural Society on display at the Main Library, celebrates the contributions and sacrifices that African American shipyard workers made during World War II. The Port Chicago Story: Lighting the Fuse to Civil Rights on display at the Treasure Island Museum, tells the story of the 1944 disaster and trial and their impact. It is presented by the National Park Service, in partnership with the Treasure Island Museum and the San Francisco Public Library.

Visit the African American Center in the Main Library to learn about historical, political and cultural experiences of African Americans in California and beyond. In addition to housing a collection of reference materials spanning a broad range of subject areas, the Center organizes many free exhibits and programs.

All programs and exhibits are free and open to the public. More information, including the program guide, is available at

More Than a Month program highlights:

Black History Buttons – Jan. 18, Merced Branch Library

The Black Comix Arts Festival Youth Day – Jan. 19, Main Library, TheMix

The Black Comix Arts Festival – Jan. 20, Main Library, Koret Auditorium

Kimberly Marshall reads Just Another Nigger – Feb. 5, Main Library, Latino Hispanic Community Room

African American Quilts – Feb. 6, Ocean View Branch Library

The Other Black Migration:Genealogy Workshop Series – Feb. 6, SF African American Historical & Cultural Society

Lighting the Fuse to Civil Rights: The Port Chicago Trial – Feb. 9, Treasure Island Museum

Drag Queen Story Hour & Motown & Disco FamilyDance Party with Black Benatar – Feb. 9, Sunset and West Portal branch libraries

Raceball: Race & the National Pastime – Feb. 10, Main Library, Koret Auditorium

Make a Treasure Box – Feb. 13, Mission Bay Branch Library and Feb. 16, Western Addition Branch Library

Fagen: An African American Renegade in the Philippine-American War – Feb. 17, Main Library, Latino Hispanic Community Room

Gee’s Bend Quilts – Feb. 21, North Beach Branch Library

San Francisco During the Antebellum and Civil War Eras – Feb. 23, Golden Gate ValleyBranch Library

Black History in Visitacion Valley – Feb. 23, Visitacion Valley Branch Library

West African Guitarist Jesse Sahbi – Feb. 27, Mission Bay Branch Library

A Conversation on Blackness – Feb. 28, Main Library, Koret Auditorium


Unsung Heroes – Through April 11 – Main Library, African American Center

The Port Chicago Story: Lighting the Fuse to Civil Rights – Jan. 26 through July 7, Treasure Island Museum

Mayor London Breed Announces The San Francisco Public Library Will Propose Eliminating Overdue Fines to Increase Library Access


Monday, January 14, 2019

Contact: Mayor’s Office of Communications, 415-554-6131



Fines disproportionately impact low-income residents, African-American communities, and San Franciscans without college degrees; research shows they are not an effective tool to encourage returns

San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced that the San Francisco Public Library will propose eliminating fines for overdue returns in order to reduce inequitable access to public resources.

The Library has partnered with the San Francisco Financial Justice Project in the Office of Treasurer José Cisneros to study the issue and interview libraries across the country who have gone “fine-free.” Their research found that fines are a barrier to equitable access of resources and services and disproportionately affect low-income San Franciscans. As libraries across the country are increasingly going fine-free, research shows that overdue fines are not an effective tool to encourage returns, and the fiscal impact of the move would be minimal.

“As a City, we need to make sure that we are not placing unnecessary burdens on people to access our public resources,” said Mayor Breed. “In this case, the fines and fees are overwhelmingly affecting people in our community from disadvantaged backgrounds, which undermines the goal of the Library and reinforces inequality in our City.”

The Library found that patrons across the City, regardless of income, miss return deadlines at similar rates. However, patrons in low-income areas face much more difficulty in paying the fines and fees associated with overdue items. As a result, overdue fines can widen existing inequalities. As an example, roughly 11 percent of the Bayview’s adult cardholders are blocked from accessing library materials, which is more than three times as many as in most high-income locations. Across the City, branches that serve lower-income populations have a greater share of blocked patrons.

“As the City’s debt collector, the research we conducted convinced me there are better tools to help people return books on time that don’t disproportionately burden low-income people and block people from accessing the library. San Francisco should join libraries across the country and eliminate overdue fines that disproportionately burden low-income people and communities of color,” said San Francisco Treasurer José Cisneros.

Library fines generate approximately $330,000 in revenue each year, which represents 0.2 percent of the Library’s budget. This revenue is expected to continue to decrease over time, as digital and e-books become increasingly common. Several libraries that have gone fine-free reported that they spent more money to collect fines than they generated in revenue, and the move to eliminate fines freed up staff time to devote to more worthwhile activities.

“The Library is here for the people of San Francisco and we want everyone to be able to take advantage of our incredible collections and resources,” said Acting City Librarian Michael Lambert. “There has never been a better time for us to eliminate overdue fines and reaffirm that all are welcome at the library.”

None of the libraries surveyed that have gone fine-free saw a decrease in circulation or increase in late returns. Should the proposal be adopted, Library patrons will still be responsible for returning books on time. Patrons that do not return their books will still need to either replace, or pay for the value of, any materials not returned. The report also recommends several administrative changes to help increase the return rate, including sending out more reminders, and shortening the timeframe before a book needs to be replaced or paid for.

The recommendation to go fine-free follows recent efforts to reduce the amount of outstanding debt, and to reengage inactive patrons and recover materials. The Library has executed four amnesty periods over the last 20 years, and most recently worked with the Treasurer’s Bureau of Delinquent Revenue to run a collections campaign in 2018.

The report developed by The Financial Justice Project and the San Francisco Public Library is titled: “Long Overdue: Eliminating Fines on Overdue Materials to Improve Access to San Francisco Public Library.” The Library Commission will be hearing the proposal at their next meeting on Thursday.


The French Consulate, San Francisco Public Library And SFMOMA Team Up to Present Night Of Ideas In San Francisco on February 2, 2019

FREE event features Mayor London Breed, artist JR, Chef Dominique Crenn, French Ambassador to the United States Gérard Araud and host of KQED’s Forum Michael Krasny

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (January 8, 2019) – The French Consulate in San Francisco, San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) jointly announce the first San Francisco edition of the global marathon event Night of Ideas  on February 2, 2019, from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., at the San Francisco Main Library. Presented in collaboration with the City of San Francisco and a vibrant ecosystem of local cultural, science, tech and academic partners, this free seven-hour marathon of philosophical debate, talks, performances, and music features top thinkers from San Francisco and beyond in a format designed to spur dialogue on the theme “Facing our Time: the City of the Future.”

With keynotes, panels and presentations by diverse voices including Mayor London Breed, artist JR, (whose video mural The Chronicles of San Francisco opens at SFMOMA in May 2019), Dominique Crenn, chef/owner of the three Michelin-starred restaurant Atelier Crenn, Gérard Araud, French Ambassador to the United States, John Law, Founder of Burning Man, architect Nicola Delon, designer of the French pavilion at the Venice Biennale, Dominique Alba, director of the Paris Urbanism Agency, Michael Krasny, host of Forum on KQED, and Allison Arieff, editorial director of SPUR, the San Francisco edition of Night of Ideas expects thousands to participate in the evening’s exchange of ideas and creative dialogue.

Multiple stages throughout the Main Library will host concurrent programming, music and dance performances, yoga, breakout sessions and opportunities for engagement and debate amongst the attendees. More than 30 topics relating to the City of the Future will be explored over the course of the evening on multiple floors of the Main Library including civic imagination, arts, accessibility, equity, literature, film, games, food, transportation, media, city planning, play and much more. A full list of speakers, panelists and performers will be announced at a later date.

 “San Francisco is a creative city that draws inspiration from the people in our neighborhoods as well as cultures all over the world,” said Mayor London N. Breed. “I’m excited by the line-up of innovative, international thinkers coming together at the Main Library and I invite all of San Francisco and the Bay Area to participate in the Night of Ideas and to share your thoughts and dreams about the future of our great city.”

“I am very pleased to see the first edition of La Nuit des Idées in San Francisco,” said Emmanuel Lebrun-Damiens, Consul General of France. “Thanks to this global initiative launched in Paris in 2015, thousands of people gather and celebrate ideas on the same night in more than 100 cities in the world. As time accelerates and innovation constantly disrupts our lives, there is no better place than San Francisco to discuss this 2019 theme: the City of the Future.”  

“Art reflects the issues of our time, and re imagines possibilities for the future. Through its partnership with the San Francisco Public Library, SFMOMA has created accessible and imaginative experiences related to the profound shifts taking place in San Francisco. We are thrilled to be partnering with so many local and international thought leaders on the inaugural Night of Ideas in San Francisco, and to celebrate the city, its community and its ideas,” said Neal Benezra, the Helen and Charles Schwab Director of SFMOMA.

“We’re delighted to open up the Main Library for the community to learn, share ideas, have fun and experience something completely new to San Francisco,” said Michael Lambert, Acting City Librarian of San Francisco Public Library. “It’s an opportunity for diverse groups to connect and have engaging dialogues about the future.”

Night of Ideas is free to the public but registration is required.   


Co-produced in the United States by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, the Institut Français and local partners, Night of Ideas has been mounted in New York City since 2015 and in Los Angeles since 2017. Last year, more than 7,000 guests attended Night of Ideas at the Brooklyn Public Library in New York. The event begins in Paris on Jan. 31, 2019 and is held annually in more than 120 cities around the world. The 2019 U.S. cities are: 

  • Houston at Rice University’s Moody Center for the Arts – Jan. 26
  • Washington D.C. at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden – Jan. 31
  • Los Angeles at The Museum of Natural History – Jan. 31
  • New York City at the Brooklyn Public Library – Feb. 2
  • San Francisco at the San Francisco Public Library – Feb. 2


Night of Ideas is free to the public but guests should register online on Eventbrite to guarantee a spot. The doors of the Main Library at 100 Larkin Street (between Grove and Fulton streets) will open at 7 p.m. for check in.  Seven hours of programming will conclude at 2 a.m.

The programming will unfold as follows:

7:00 p.m. The Main Library opens to host a seven-hour line-up of diverse events and thought-provoking debates. Food, beverages and wine will be available throughout the night.

7:30 p.m. Mayor of San Francisco London Breed will officially launch the celebration, along with co-presenters of Night of Ideas. Music and dance performances will welcome the public in the library atrium.

 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Poets, thinkers, urbanists and students will explore themes such as “poetic city,” “transit city,” and “teen city” while Michael Krasny hosts a two-hour special live remote broadcast of KQED’s Forum.

9:00 p.m. onwards An open mic stage will allow the public to share their thoughts and ideas for tomorrow’s cities while SFMOMA, the Institute for the Future, Civic Common Center and KQED – among others – will offer panels relating to the themes “equitable city,” “media city,” and “welcoming city.” Music, dancing and yoga will be interspersed to energize participants and break social barriers.

10:00 p.m. Additional themes will be curated by Atelier Crenn, National Park Service, Litquake and the James C Hormel LGBTQIA Center among others. In the atrium, Dominique Alba,director of the Parisian Urbanism Agency, will present a keynote.

11:00 p.m. French artist JR will wonder how an entire city can be represented through arts.The Institute for the Future will experience the power of civic imagination with the audience, while Bring Your Own Wheels will explore how to adapt to an ever-changing physical and psychological city landscape.

From midnight to 2 a.m. Burning Man and Mutek. SF will wrap up the night along with keynotes, DJ sets, yoga classes and musical performances.  Nicola Delon, designer of the French pavilion at the Venice Biennale, will join them to end this exceptional event!  

NIGHT OF IDEAS CONTEST– Win two pairs of round trip air tickets to Paris

Guests at Night of Ideas will have the opportunity to win two pairs of round trip tickets to Paris during the evening by participating in an Instagram contest sponsored by airline French Bee. Participants may simply post a picture of any of the activities of Night of Ideas on their Instagram account and tag it #NightofIdeasSF. Winners will be randomly selected at the end of the night and must be present to win.  A complete list of contest rules will be available on the website.


Night of Ideas is co-presented by the San Francisco Public Library, the French Consulate in San Francisco, and SFMOMA in collaboration with media partner KQED and the City and County of San Francisco.

The event is made possible by the support of Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, 836M, the Cultural and Scientific Services of the French Embassy in the United States and the French American Cultural Society. La Nuit des Idées is a project of the Institut Français and Fondation de France.


The General Consulate of France in San Francisco, the Cultural and Scientific Services of the French Embassy represent France’s cultural, scientific, political and economic interests in Northern California and ten other states (Alaska,Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, North Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming). While providing various consular services to French nationals, the General Consulate is a platform which promotes cooperation, innovation and mutual understanding between France and the U.S. The Night of Ideas is part of the After Tomorrow season.

San Francisco Public Library is dedicated to free and equal access to information, knowledge, independent learning and the joys of reading for our diverse community. The library system is made up of 27 neighborhood branches, the San Francisco Main Library at Civic Center and four bookmobiles.

SFMOMA is dedicated to making the art for our time a vital and meaningful part of public life. Founded in 1935 as the first West Coast museum devoted to modern and contemporary art, a thoroughly transformed SFMOMA, with triple the gallery space, an enhanced education center and new free public galleries, opened to the public on May 14, 2016. The expanded museum has welcomed more than 1 million visitors each year. The Night of Ideas is part of the Public Knowledge program.

Media Partner

KQED Public Media for Northern CA, the first ranked radio station in the Bay Area and one of the most listened-to public radio stations in the United States will organize two hours of Forum, hosted by Michael Krasny, on the San Francisco Public Library stage at the event.

Curating Partners

Numerous renowned local institutions worked together to create the content for Night of Ideas. Among them, Atelier Crenn, Burning Man, City Lights Bookstore, Civic Center Commons, Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, Hormel LGTBQIA Center,Institute for the Future, Litquake Festival, Lycéefrançais de San Francisco, Mutek.SF, National Park Service, Open Austria, SFFILM, SPUR, Stanford University, Ubisoft, UC Berkeley and Youth Speaks.


 Night of Ideas will offer performances by:Awesome OrchestraCollective, Bay Area Flash Mob, Steve Silver’s Beach Blanket Babylon, Burning Man, Exploratorium, Outdoor Yoga SF, RAWdance, San Francisco Sound Wave,  Solenn Seguillon and AleronTrio, among others.

Main Partners

 The event is made possible with the support of Friends of the SanFrancisco Public Library, 836M, the Culturaland Scientific Services of the French Embassy in the United States and the French American Cultural Society.

In-kind Partners

We thank French Bee and Intercontinental San Francisco for their contributions. 


Matthias Carette

Press Officer – French Consulate in San Francisco

Tel: 1 – (415) 616 4907

Cell: 1 – (415) 516 0604

Mindy Linetzky

Manager,Communications & Public Affairs – San Francisco Public Library

Tel: 1 – (415) 557 4252

Jill Lynch

Communications Director – SFMOMA

Tel: 1 – (415) 357 4172 

Follow Night of Ideas!

A Media Kit with images, video and more is available here.


Better Hours at the Best Library of the Year

For Immediate Release: January 3, 2019

Media Contact: Mindy Linetzky
(415) 557-4252;

Better Hours at the Best Library of the Year

Library responds to patron input

Image of Better Hours at the Library

SAN FRANCISCO,CABeginning Jan. 12, 2019, San Francisco Public Library will increase the open hours at the Main Library and amend hours at several neighborhood branches.

The Main Library will stay open one hour later on Sundays and open one hour earlier on Mondays, adding a total of 2 hours to weekly library services. These changes will allow patrons doing weekend projects for school or work to have longer access to the library, as well as earlier entry on Monday mornings. This is the first increase in open hours at the Main Library since it was built in 1996.

In June of 2017, all San Francisco library locations expanded hours to 7 days a week and with these new changes, SFPL has gone one step further. In addition to extending Sunday service until 6 p.m. at the Main Library, SFPL will also stay open till 6 p.m. on Sundays at the following six neighborhood libraries: Golden Gate Valley, Western Addition, Richmond, Merced, Excelsior and Potrero branch libraries.

The Library Preservation Fund requires that the library perform an assessment of needs at 5-year intervals to determine library hours. The library, in conjunction with the San Francisco Controller’s Office, performed a comprehensive study which included surveys from patrons and library employees and engagement with community members at public hearings in each of the 11 supervisorial districts. After assessing this community feedback, the San Francisco Library Commission voted to adjust library hours at 11 branches and the Main Library.

These changes will increase the community’s ability to use the library. SFPL wants everyone to be able to take advantage of the wonderful resources and materials that are available and free for all.

For a full listing of the new library hours see below or go to

BAYVIEW / BROOKS BURTON1–510–610–810–810–81–610–6
BERNAL HEIGHTS1–510–610–7*1–9*10–61–610–6*
CHINATOWN / LAI1–51–610–910–910–91–610–6
EUREKA VALLEY / MILK1–510–610–910–910–61–610–6
GLEN PARK1–510–610–612–810–71–610–6
GOLDEN GATE VALLEY  1–6*10–610–612–8*12–81–610–6
MAIN LIBRARY  12–6*9–6*9–89–89–812–610–6
The Mix at SFPL12–6*1–61–81–81–81–612–6
MERCED 1–6*10–610–91–910–8*1–610–6
MISSION 1–51–610–910–910–91–610–6
MISSION BAY1–510–610–611–810–61–610–6
NOE VALLEY / BRUNN1–512–610–91–910–61–610–6
NORTH BEACH1–510–6*10–8*1–8*10–61–610–6
OCEAN VIEW1–510–610–612–810–71–610–6
PARKSIDE 1–51–610–912–910–61–610–6
PRESIDIO   1–51–610–911–8*10–61–610–6
RICHMOND / MARKS1–6*1–610–910–910–8*1–610–6
VISITACION VALLEY1–510–610–810–810–81–610–6
WEST PORTAL1–51–610–910–910–91–610–6
WESTERN ADDITION1–6*10–610–61–810–7*1–610–6
SFMOMA Public Knowledge10–510–510–5closed10–910–510–5

* New hours effective Jan. 12, 2019

About San Francisco Public Library (SFPL)

San Francisco Public Library is dedicated to free and equal access to information, knowledge, independent learning and the joys of reading for our diverse community. The library system is made up of 27 neighborhood branches, the San Francisco Main Library at Civic Center and four bookmobiles.