By Rosie Levy Merlin, Program Outreach Librarian, SFPL
I recently gave birth to a fourth generation San Franciscan. I take that seriously. I also gave birth to at least a third generation book lover (My paternal grandmother died before I was born and though I hope she loved books, I cannot confirm at this point). This too, taken seriously.
When I was a kid, Mission Branch was my branch library (before the renovation which took away the magically imposing wooden staircase), Cover to Cover was my local bookstore (before the multiple hops and skips around Noe Valley, when it was in its first incarnation on 24th Street, pretty close to Church St.) and City Lights Books was where my dad worked (still thriving, still in the same place, now a landmark, so phew).
For my little girl, I wish a thriving and imaginative urban childhood and here are a few of our lovely city’s literary gems that I can’t wait to introduce her to:
- SF Main Library, where her mom works!
- Friends’ Big Book Sale – my parents brought me here when they still let you break through a ribbon (like at a finish line, though this was the start) and run to your favorite section, rather than wait in an orderly, anxious line. Best scores: Noel Streatfield first editions that I still treasure.
- Some of the best reading cafes: Atlas Cafe, Progressive Grounds (back porch), Hollow
- Indie bookstores with terrific children’s sections: Booksmith, Green Apple
- Storytimes in cool places like the Golden Gate Park Botanical Garden Library, during Sleepovers at the Academy of Sciences, and Paxton Gate’s Curiosities for Kids