Good News for Book Collectors

At Friends of the Library bookselling venues, sales of collectable books are as strong as ever. –BJS

National Library Week

Advocacy Alert! LATE BREAKING PLEA: Send “Budget Ask” to California Legislators!

SF-Public-LibraryPlease write to California legislators TODAY! The California Library Association is asking for $11.5 million in new funding for public libraries. These dollars would increase funding for programs, for literacy, for connectivity grants and expand broadband connections for libraries throughout the state that are critical for keeping users connected. Governor Brown eliminated funding for public libraries and library programs in 2011—approximately $30 million— just after he assumed office. To date, funding has increased to a mere $7.5 million.

Please send a letter TODAY if your representative is Assembly member Phil Ting who serves on the very important Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance. This “sample letter,” can be adapted to your communities’ needs. Please mail, email or fax it to our key legislator by April 15.

Assembly Member  Phil Ting, Member Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Education Finance

State Capitol, Room 3123

Sacramento, CA.  95814

Tel: (916) 319-2019

Fax:  (916) 319-2119


New Board Member Bio: Jay Auslander

JayMeet Jay Auslander, one of the newest additions to our talented and dedicated Board of Directors! Jay Auslander works for the California Academy of Sciences and is an attorney specializing in gift planning.  He works with donors interested in some of the trickier forms of gift making, such as negotiating non-profit inclusions in someone’s will or trust, or working with gifts of more complicated assets like art and homes.  Jay has been in this line of work pretty much since graduating from law school in Arizona (his home state) in 2001.  Jay moved to the Bay Area after school and started in this career at UC Berkeley.  He has moved around some in this capacity, also working for SF State, the poverty fighting organization CARE and now the Academy.  He also once took some time working with a lawyer friend with an art gallery in San Francisco to open his gallery in New York as well;  he’s always been interested in contemporary fine art.  And of course he’s avid fan of the library, a frequent visitor to the Main, but also happy to visit the new Mission Bay Branch. He loves classic novels and self-help books. He also likes bike riding, skiing and fish keeping. 

Interested in joining our Board of Directors? Please get in touch with our Executive Director, Scott Staub, for more information.
(415) 626-5220


Return of the Library Steps Sales!

10537782_10152407018633369_3112085429222580253_nWe’re back! We know it’s been a long hard winter without us, but now that spring has sprung we’re excited to set up camp again every Wednesday at the Main from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Each week we’ll transform the front of the library into an outdoor bookstore boasting over 1,000 items, all for only one buck and all for a good cause! Last season we raised almost $30,000 and we aim to top that this year with your help. Stop by the sale on your way to the Civic Center Farmer’s market or during a sunny lunch break to find some little treasure or out of print favorites. Did we mention that everything is only $1?

The Steps Sale is managed by a fantastic crew of Friends’ staff and volunteers—some who have been working the sale for more than 10 years! Interested in volunteering at the Steps Sales? Donating books? Becoming a member of Friends? Swing on by on a Wednesday, pick up one or two or three or four good reads, and check in with one of our friendly book sellers.

Celebrate National Poetry Month With Friends!

Jami Proctor_1Did you know that your Friends love poetry? And did you know that April is National Poetry Month? Celebrate with us by attending our weekly Thursdays at Readers Poetry series, or check out our newly published, beautiful Poets 11 Anthology!

Poets 11 is a platform for both new and established poets, and the 5th Edition of Poets 11 brought in over 200 submissions, an impressive selection from writers in each of San Francisco’s 11 districts! From haikus to free verse and narratives to rhymes, submissions ranged from lightly humorous to deeply political.  Each edition of Poets 11 generates a tremendous amount of beautiful and thought-provoking work authored by talented writers, all of it never before published. The poems are a great reflection of the diverse cultural and political histories of San Francisco’s neighborhoods.  You can pick up your copy of the anthology in our Readers Bookstores or order a copy online today! Copies are only $15 and the proceeds support the San Francisco Public Library.

Speaking of swinging by our Readers Bookstores, join us every Thursday in Readers Fort Mason for our weekly free  poetry series, curated and hosted by San Francisco Poet Laureate emeritus, SFPL Poet-In-Residence, and SF International Poetry Festival collaborator Jack Hirschman! Each Thursday evening, beginning at 6:30 pm, features poetry readings and a great sense of literary community — all while supporting the SFPL. More information here.

Spring Book Sale & NLC Celebration a Smashing Success!


(Pictured: Deputy City Librarian Michael Lambert with Literary Director Byron Spooner during the NLC Celebration in front of the Spring Book Sale.)

Thank you to all of our members, donors, volunteers, library supporters and book-buying enthusiasts for a super successful 5th Annual Spring Book Sale! The numbers are in and they’re eye-popping: we raised almost $200,000 for the benefit of the San Francisco Public Library during our 5 day bargain sale of used books!

With no item more than $3 and all items on Sunday only $1, that’s a LOT of books sold. We exceeded our goal by almost $35,000, pulling in $40,000 MORE than last year’s Spring Book Sale. San Francisco: you’re rabid for reading!

We know our sales make for good shelfies, so share your finds with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #springbooksale, and check out all the other loot that shoppers brought home (including tickets to the Ballet and dinner at The Slanted Door via our Daily Clues prize program!)

Thank you also to all of our members, donors, volunteers and library supporters for celebrating the success of the Neighborhood Library Campaign with us on April 4th during our book sale!

We could not have provided the furniture, fixtures and equipment to 24 renovated or new branch libraries without our enthusiastic supporters, and we had a blast with all of you during our party.

We hope you enjoyed our goodie bag treats and prizes, Off the Grid Food Trucks, amazing live music by the talented The American Ragtime Ensemble and fun face painting! We were thrilled to debut SFPL’s new TechMobile during our celebration, and thanks to Discover Labyrinths for the awesome book installation! Check out the beautiful photos of the event on our Facebook Page.

The scent of the spring sale may still be in the air, but we’re already gearing up for our Fall Book Sale so save the date for September 16-20 when we’ll be filling the beautiful Herbst Pavilion (new location!) with hundreds of thousands of items for the same low, low prices. Become a member and attend the Member Preview Sale & Reception, held the evening before the sale goes public, on Tuesday, September 15th!

Thank you for shopping with us; see you in September!

Patti Smith’s new memoir announced

I’m looking forward to this perhaps more than is healthy.–BJS

The Original Drafts of BLOOD MERIDIAN

Best Things of the Week , April 13, 2015

Best Things of the Week

April 13 2015


Best Thing I Read All Week: Goat Mountain by David Vann: When my wife finished this she said, “This is man stuff.” I didn’t have a ready answer so I didn’t say anything, which made me feel like a David Vann character. I got interested in Vann when I saw him a couple weeks ago as part of Litquake’s Epicenter Series at Veracocha. The Cormac McCarthy comparisons that have been bandied about turn out to quire apt. Vann writes grim high-desert sentences that are full of doom and testosterone in the fashion one imagines grim high-desert types speaking. (I find Westerners as loquacious as anyone else, but…) The story of four men and a murder on their own private mountain drips with blood, violence, death, putrescence, tight-lipped forbearance, biblical speculation as to the existence of God and the meaning of the testaments, the old one in particular (and Cain and Abel especially), and the nature of right and wrong and guilt and innocence. In other words, the usual Cormac-ian stuff. There are no women for miles in any direction—not that there have to be—hell, sometimes we’re not even sure these guys have mothers. At Veracocha Vann said he mostly describes the landscape where the action takes place and the story and characters more or less fall into place (I’m paraphrasing) and that is clearly the case here. The mountain is the dominant player, indeed it stands in for the whole world, and transforms each character, mostly in a way he’d rather not be and always against his will. Things happen in the mountain’s world that couldn’t elsewhere; a boy becomes a buck, a buck becomes a cross, the hunter becomes the hunted, the interloper fills in for the savior. I’m also aware that a goat can represent the devil and the mountain, here at least, embodies evil, but not being a Christian, I was not overly moved by all the biblical hocus-pocus. Which is not to say I wasn’t moved.

Best Thing I Saw All Week: Cut Bank directed by Matt Shakman: Speaking of taciturn Westerners, there are lots of them in Cut Bank ranging from the harmlessly eccentric to the badly deranged. John Malkovich is creepy/great as the pious sheriff who barfs at the sight of blood; Bruce Dern as the semi-demented postman; Billie Bob Thornton as the blustering patriarch who’s read too many tough love bestsellers; Oliver Platt in a brilliant turn as an avuncular, foul-mouthed Postal Inspector. (Is it me or are all these guys getting old?) A surprising number of these otherwise-ordinary townsfolk are involved in an elaborately misguided insurance scam that turns, not surprisingly, into more than one homicide. Despite the sometimes jerry-rigged plot, the movie is funny at times in an attempted-Cohen Brothers way, but the script would have to undergo more than several rewrites to turn Cut Bank into Fargo. As it is, the suspense depends too heavily on the apparently-motiveless actions of the most obvious psycho and not sufficiently heavily the motives of the sane ones. When the motives are finally revealed they are neither shocking enough nor funny enough make up for the obvious short cuts in the story. I’ve never heard of Matt Shakman either.