San Francisco Poets Speak Out I

The Revolutionary Poets Brigade is a group of activist poets with chapters Rome, Los Angeles, Albuquerque, Burlington, Vt., San Francisco and Paris. Heartfire, the second anthology of the work of the Brigadistas, as they are known, was published in 2013 by Kallatumba Press. On November 8 of this year the RPB’s San Francisco Brigade hosted Social Justice Day at the Emerald Tablet, a gallery in North Beach. The theme of this year’s event was Overthrowing Capitalism.   Many of San Francisco’s top poets participated.  Over the next week or so I will post videos of some of the readings and music  featured at that event.  These videos were shot by Mark Lippman of the Los Angeles Brigade.  Our first group of four includes J. Vern Cromartie, Sarah Menefee, Rafael Jesus Gonzales with Gerardo Main and my wife Judith Ayn Bernhard.

J. Vern Cromartie:

Sarah Menefee:

Rafael Jesus Gonzales (with Gerardo Marin):


Judith Bernhard:


Neal Cassady’s Long-lost Joan Anderson Letter Found

From my friend Jerry Cimino at the Beat Museum:

The Best Independent Fiction and Poetry

Ladies & Gentlemen, Ursula K. LeGuin

Ursula K. LeGuin says it all in six minurtes.  Plus Daniel Handler.

America’s Most Beautiful Bookshops

Fall for Our Unique Holiday Cards!

Rosemary's Holiday Cards

If you’ve browsed our bookstores then you’ve no doubt noticed the displays of handmade, one-of-a-kind greeting cards and ephemera that we keep in stock. These unique cards and gifts are made using vintage images salvaged from some of the older books in poor condition we receive in our donation center, and they’re all lovingly created by our long-time volunteer and card-making extraordinaire, Rosemary.

Come check out the new batch of holiday cards while supplies last!

The Generosity of Carlyn Halde (1924-2014)

Carlyn1Some friends are for life.  And some friendships, like that of Carlyn Halde, live on forever.

A volunteer for more than 10 years and longtime friend of the library, Carlyn was well-known for her dedication at Friends’ bookstores and generously gifted a $50,000 bequest to Friends after she passed away this summer.

“Carlyn volunteered once a week and her attendance was as reliable as her quick brain.  She kept us all on our toes!  She never faltered in her enthusiasm for the library and told everyone about Friends,” said Assistant Literary Director Sarah Rosedale, who runs the Readers Bookstores.

The donation reflects a lifelong dedication to learning and generosity.  Carlyn was passionate about reading her entire life.  She caught “the bug” as a child, devouring books about nature and foreign countries.  These books inspired her to teach around the world and eventually landed her at UCSF as a professor of medical microbiology.  After she retired she continued teaching unpaid at UCSF in addition to committing time to Friends.

Carlyn’s donation will allow Friends to do what Carlyn loved: instill in people a passion for reading and books and help improve access to the library.

Legacy gifts, typically done through estate plans (such as wills or trusts) can be designated for general purposes, or a favorite section or function of the library (such as children’s programs).  Bequests, especially one for $50,000, will go a long way and we could not be more grateful to our friend, Carlyn Halde.  For more information about making a planned gift, please visit our website.

Making the Pilgrimage to CLA: Oakland

CLACalifornia Library Association’s Annual Conference was held earlier in the month on November 7 – 9 in Oakland, with the theme “Be the Change.”  The conference is California’s premier event for library professionals, giving attendees the opportunity to network and learn via workshops, presentations, and special events while  meeting vendors and hearing world-renowned speakers inform, motivate and entertain.

This was a particularly special conference because our Development Manager Deborah Doyle, was also this year’s CLA President, and Peter Wiley, author, publisher, long time SFPL supporter and past Friends board member, was awarded CLA’s prestigious President’s Award. In addition, Friends served as the book seller and managed all of the author signings during the three day event, bringing in over $6,000 in sales,  giving us a chance to engage with numerous other like-minded organizations, all while basking in the dark humor of keynote speaker Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket.)


Did somebody say libraries and books? Because we’re there!

TablingDaniel Handler


A Feast of Poetry: 8 More Weeks of Poets 11!

Poets 11_District MapOver the summer Friends received an impressive selection of poems from talented writers in each of San Francisco’s 11 districts, and selected poets have been reading their work in their branch libraries since October 15th! From haiku to free verses and narratives to rhymes, submissions ranged from lightly humorous to deeply political. The Poets 11: 5th Edition selection is an impressive representation of the talent and diversity in our city.

Please join us as selected poets continue read their work this month and the next, and mark your calendar for the Poets 11 Grand Finale at the Koret Auditorium on January 18th, 2015 at 1:00 pm.

Not enough poetry for you? Attend “Thursdays at Readers”, our weekly free poetry series held all year long! Join us at 6:30 p.m. every week in our Readers Bookstore Fort Mason to hear a lineup of poets from around the world. Beat the winter blues by book-browsing and sipping on a warm beverage from the café all while listening to poetry.

Check out last year’s Finale at the Koret here.

We’re Thankful To All Of Our Supporters!

Auction-Ritz-CarltonRitz Gala for Friends raises money for programs and new teen digital center

San Francisco library lovers from across the city came out last week to The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco atop Nob Hill to celebrate our innovative libraries and the accomplishments of the Neighborhood Library Campaign (NLC), which provided the furniture, fixtures and equipment for 24 branch libraries built or renovated throughout San Francisco.  The fundraiser gala brought over $185,000 for Friends’ general programming and The Mix at SFPL, the new teen digital media center at the Main Library.

Friends honored Mayor Lee and former mayors Gavin Newsom and Willie Brown, Jr. for their leadership in the NLC.  The mayors allowed themselves to be “auctioned off” as part of the fundraising for the evening.  City Librarian Luis Herrera and former City Librarian Susan Hildreth were also honored for their work on the NLC.

The event was made possible and even more memorable thanks to The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco underwriting the event and donating their beautiful new ballroom as the venue space. A complete list of sponsors can be found here.

“We have a world class library system because San Franciscans love their libraries and go the extra mile to support them,” said Executive Director of Friends of the San Francisco Public Library Scott Staub.

Guests were able to preview some of the activities that will be offered at The Mix at SFPL.  A special thanks to the major funders of the NLC who were honored during the event: The David b. Gold Foundation, The Eucalyptus Foundation, the Louis R. Lurie Foundation and Wells Fargo.

For more photos of the event, check out the album on our Facebook page!