Spring Big Book Sale: Success!

Spring Big Book Sale_Member Preview Line Thank you to all of our volunteers, members, book donors, sponsors and shoppers for making our 6th Annual Spring Big Book Sale a slammin’ success. The sale brought in over $200,000 for the San Francisco Public Library!

Our favorite thing about putting on the West Coast’s largest used book sale is that proceeds support learning & literacy at SFPL. Our second favorite thing?  Watching all you book lovers give hundreds of thousands of items a new home! This year social media was flooded with photos of finds & the Festival Pavilion – check them all out on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and tag us in pictures of your loot: @FriendsSFPL #BigBookSaleSpring Big Book Sale Instagram Screenshot

Did you miss out on the sale? Are you already hankering for more? Save the date for the 52nd Fall Big Book Sale: September 21 – 25, 2016! It’s never too early to become involved and ensure that our next sale is as big of a success: donate your items, become a volunteer or consider sponsoring our sale.

Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Main Library

SF-Public-Library-MainTwenty years have passed since the San Francisco Main Library first opened its doors to great acclaim on April 18, 1996, and the anniversary is being celebrated with more than 20 lively programs, events and exhibits!

In 1988 Friends championed Proposition A, a bond issue that funded $109.5 million to build the new Main Library. The Main Library represents the largest public/private partnership in the history of San Francisco, thanks to Friends.

Today, the Main is busier than ever, greeting more than 1.8 million visitors each year, and checking out close to two million items. The Main Library is open more than 3,000 hours a year.

SFPL Main Library Dancers

Photo by Brian Castagne

Join us on Monday, April 18th at the Main for live music, refreshments, performances and book selling by Friends! The event begins at 12:30 p.m. on the Larkin Street steps of the Main Library. In honor of the original 1996 opening events, the anniversary celebration will feature a performance by BANDALOOP, a pioneer in vertical performance.

Additional Events:

April 12: The Matter of Black Lives will feature comedian and activist Sampson McCormick, poet Amanda Johnston, and social justice activist and popular culture scholar and writer Shawn Taylor, who will discuss their views on the current state of Black America. Main Library, Koret Auditorium, 6 p.m.

April 13: A distinguished panel of architects (including our Board Chair, Charles Higueras!) will discuss Twenty Years: A Renaissance of Library Architecture. Learn how architecture reflects the evolution of library services with Marsha Maytum, Mark Schatz, Cathy Simon, John King, and Charles Higueras. Main Library, Koret Auditorium, 6 p.m.

April 26 and 28: Save Your Stuff and Pass it On. Learn how to preserve your precious personal memories and archives. Books & Paper, April 26; Photos: April 28. Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Community Room, 6 p.m.

Selected Exhibitions:

Animal House: Anthropomorphic Selections from the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit and Humor. Have some fun with an exhibition showcasing animals behaving like humans in cartoons, comics and literature from artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. April 1 – May 31, Main Library, Skylight Gallery. (see also: http://sfpl.org/releases/)

Queerest.Library.Ever. #Hormelat20. Selected items are drawn from the Hormel LGBTQIA Center from its archival collections of personal papers and organizational records, including rare posters, photographs, correspondence, documents and objects. April 16 – Aug. 7, Main Library, Jewett Gallery, Skylight Bridge, and Hormel Center, plus Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Memorial Branch. (see also: http://sfpl.org/releases/)

Main Library at 20. Exhibition includes original blueprints, photographs, reports, press packets, and newspaper accounts from the planning, construction and opening of the Main. April 18 – June 30, Main Library, San Francisco History Center.


Lovin’ Our Library Laureates: Colin Winnette


Colin Winnette, Eli Horowitz, Rachel Khong, Andi Winnette

Colin Winnette with Eli Horowitz, Rachel Khong and Andi Winnette at the 2016 Library Laureates Gala

Last month we brought back the Library Laureates Gala and celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the Main Library  with 35 of our favorite authors. This month we had the pleasure of catching up with Library Laureate Colin Winnette!


Photo By Jennifer Yinn

Colin is the author of Revelation, Animal Collection, Fondly, Coyote, and Haints Stay. Coyote won Les Figues Press’s NOS Book Contest, and Haints Stay was listed as a 2015 “Best Book of the Year” by Flavorwire, Litreactor, Largehearted Boy, and Slate. Coyote was listed as a 2015 “Best Book of the Year” by Flavorwire and the Washington Independent Review of Books.

What are you reading right now?

I just finished a book by Victor Pelevin called The Hall of the Singing Caryatids, which was excellent. I might read Danielle Dutton’s Margaret the First next.

Which poet of past would you most like to share a drink with?

Blake? No, wait. Probably not Blake.

 Last item you checked out from a library:

The Mephisto Waltz by Fred Mustard Stewart and Offshore by Penelope Fitzgerald.

How do you envision libraries in the future?

Expanding to account for the various new ways we’re consuming stories and information, while staying connected to and supporting the structures that served and serve as critical foundations for these new modes.

Who were you excited to meet during Library Laureates?

Honestly, I was excited to meet most of the people there. I’m an enormous fan of Percival Everett’s work, which made me too nervous and awkward to actually strike up a conversation with him. But I was thinking about how to do it most of the night.

What projects are you working on right now?

A new novel and a collection of stories, both of which are very strange.

Favorite bookstore:

In San Francisco I love The Booksmith, my old stomping grounds. Also, Green Apple Books & Music, of course. There’s a bookstore called Recycled Books in my hometown (Denton, Texas) that is a sprawling three stories of books. It’s dusty and fantastic. Because there’s a university or two in town and it’s a pretty progressive place (for Texas), the selection there is topnotch and always changing.

Favorite San Francisco Public Library Branch Library:

I’m in the Mission, so I use the Mission Branch most of the time. But I do love the feel of walking around the Main Library.

Where do you write?

In my office or at the kitchen table. However, I used to work at the Asian Art Museum and I would sometimes spend my lunch breaks over in the Main, writing in the poetry stacks. There is nothing quite like walking the stacks and just randomly looking through lines/poems in books you might never have otherwise seen. Among many other things, that unique experience and source of inspiration is something the San Francisco Public Library gave me that I will never forget.

To learn more about Colin please visit his website at www.colinwinnette.net. Stay tuned for our interview with Library Laureate Brian Christian!

Thank You to Our Sponsors!

Nick Friedman, Festival Outreach Coordinator for the SF Film Society

Thank you to all of our Spring Big Book Sale sponsors and group volunteers for contributing to the success of our sale! A very special thanks  to Amoeba, Flax and the San Francisco Film Society for helping to spread the word. Check out Flax’s 2 new locations (they’re our neighbors in Fort Mason Center and just opened up in Oakland!) and save the date for the 59th International San Francisco Film Festival.

Are you interested in sponsoring our 52nd Fall Big Book Sale? Supporting our sale through sponsorship is a great way to become involved in the community and get the word out about your event or business. For more information please email info@friendssfpl.org.

Spring Big Book Sale Sponsor Logo Screenshot


6th Annual Spring Big Book Sale Table Sponsors:
Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria, Amoeba Music,  Autodesk,  The Beat Museum, BRYR, Custom Eyes Optometry, Flax Art & Design, Goody Cafe, Green Apple Books & Music, Greens Restaurant, I.S. Logistics, The Leakey Foundation, LexisNexis, The Long Now Foundation, Magic Theatre, MTP Architects, One Brick, PBA Galleries,  Safeway, The San Francisco Film Society, Scholar Strategies, Camilla & George Smith,  Mikiko Huang & Marshall Stoller,Gino & Wendy Rinaldi, Zephyr Architects.


6th Annual Spring Big Book Sale Group Volunteers Provided By:
Autodesk, International High School, LexisNexis, One Brick, SFSU Alpha Phi Omega, Mu Zeta Chapter, SFSU Beta Alpha Psi – Beta Chi Chapter, Tri-Beta Biological Honors Society, USF Alpha Phi Omega, Alpha Epsilon Nu, USF NSA Community Service, Wells Fargo Leadership Pipeline Program, Wiley & Sons. A special thank you to Shiftboard for keeping us organized during our sale!

The Artist is Present: Big Book Sale Poster Signing with Illustrator Wayne Shellabarger!

Wayne's PortraitWayne Shellabarger is one of our favorite Bay Area artists, and we’re thrilled to have him join us this Sunday, April 3rd during our 6th Annual Spring Big Book Sale to sign posters!

Over the last two years, Wayne has illustrated & designed 4 posters for our Annual Spring and Fall Big Book Sales and the surge in popularity that our Big Book Sales have seen during this time span is in no small part to the talent and vision of Mr. Shellabarger.

We’re selling all 4 designs for only $10 each, or $20 for the collection! Come on down this Sunday, collect all 4 and meet the man behind these fabulous designs.




InterviewBig Book Sale Posters_ All Four with Wayne, originally posted on August 14th, 2015:

Wayne has illustrated numerous covers and articles for the San Francisco Bay Guardian (RIP) and has illustrated and designed the promotional posters for the 20th Anniversary of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. Wayne also designs the calendars and posters for the I Wake Up Dreaming Film Noir Festival.

His rock posters from the ’90s were published as “I’m Totally Helpless!” and he illustrated a book on the history of the U.S. Vice Presidents called, “Veeps: Profiles in Insignificance”, both published by Top Shelf Productions. He also illustrated Music We Like, the Amoeba Music shopping guide, from 1999-2013.

Favorite San Francisco library branch
I check out books from the Mission Branch and always find too much interesting stuff. You can’t beat the view from the Potrero Branch.

Last item you checked out from a library
See a Little Light“, Bob Mould.

Favorite section in a bookstore

Favorite artists
Will Elder, Jack Davis and Goya.

What other projects kept you busy this summer?
In July I finished a poster featuring Jayne Mansfield for The Castro Theatre’s Film Noir festival. Also, a beer label I designed is part of Blue Moon’s artist series beer labels.

What inspired you to draw when you were knee high?
I watched a lot of Perry Mason when I was a kid and became fascinated with the parade of ’50s character actors that went through the series. Their odd faces captivated me. Plus lots of comics. And, bringing up the rear, the startlingly complex and delicate beauty of the natural world.

Why do you think libraries are important / relevant today?
What explanation does “unlimited free books” need? Free access to ideas and information for the public sounds like a good idea to me. “Google it?” Sometimes you just don’t want to be connected to 4 billion people when reading or researching. The ambiance of a library is unbeatable for focused, undisturbed thought.

Why do you love working for and supporting the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library?
Keeping books and ideas in circulation is one of the most important activities one could possibly be involved in.




Thursdays at Readers: Cathleen Williams & Gary Hicks

Join us every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in our Readers Bookstore Fort Mason for our weekly FREE poetry series!

Browse books and enjoy a glass of wine while listening to internationally acclaimed poets and artists such as Jonathan Richman, David Meltzer, Diane di Prima and California Poet Laureate Al Young. The series is curated by Friends’ Resident Poet Jack Hirschman.

Proceeds from our bookstores benefit the San Francisco Public Library.

This week’s featured poets: Cathleen Williams & Gary Hicks

Cathleen Williams is a civil rights lawyer and activist in the movement of homeless people that is rising across the nation, as well as in her home town of Sacramento. She has worked with the League of Revolutionaries For a New America since its inception, and is a founder of the Revolutionary Poets Brigade. In her poetry, she speaks to the astonishing courage and tenacity of our people, struggling with a dehumanizing and dying political system.

Gary Hicks has been writing poetry since 1983. His work is informed by…dictated by…his political and cultural activism of over fifty years. Hicks has been involved in activities advocating peace, justice, solidarity amongst people’s. Currently he is concerned with relationships between China and the US and is active in the US-China Peoples Friendship Associàtion. Hicks is also active in his tenant organization in Berkeley, where he lives.

Read more »

Become a Spring Big Book Sale Table Sponsor!

Promote your business!

The 48th annual Friends of the San Francisco Public Library's Big Book Sale held at Fort Mason in San Francisco.

Great exposure during the 6 day event.

Do you own a business and are looking to get the word out? Do you have a cause you’d like to promote? Would you like an opportunity to support the San Francisco Public Library? We have just the thing for you: Big Book Sale table sponsorship! Sponsorship begins at $250 and includes your choice of 75 categories and your name or logo on a large table sign at the sale. The Spring Big Book Sale brings in over 10,000 people over the course of the 6 day event (public dates are March 30th – April 3rd, Member Preview Sale & Reception is March 29th). Higher levels of sponsorship include a listing in the event program, website, social media and eNews!

For information about Table Sponsorship, please contact Katherine Jardine at Katherine.Jardine@friendssfpl.org or (415) 477-5230.

Welcome Mario and Lisa!

Exciting times at Friends abound – we’re welcoming two new staff members to the family! We are pleased to announce Mario Lemos as our new Manager of Membership and Development Services and Lisa Perry as our Online and Specialty Sales Assistant.

Mario Lemos 2014Mario Lemos has worked for over ten years at San Francisco non-profits including the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Grace Cathedral, Conservatory of Music and most recently at The Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center. He has served on the advisory board for the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery and as a board member for Southern Exposure. Mario is also a visual artist and curator.

You can contact Mario at Mario.Lemos@friendssfpl.org or (415) 477-5231.



image1Lisa Perry studied acting at Humboldt State University and in London, but eventually realized that books were her true love. She has been a bookseller for over 20 years, 14 of them in Seattle with her own shop. She relocated to California five years ago, and now lives in Alameda, where she can take advantage of her love of antiques at the Alameda Antique Faire.

You can contact Lisa at Lisa.Perry@friendssfpl.org or (415) 477-5233.

FREE Books at our Spring Big Book Sale

Girl with bookstackHere’s an insider’s tip: items at our 6th Annual Spring Big Book Sale are 100% FREE if you volunteer! That’s right – all you have to do is sign up for a shift (or two or three), help us put on the biggest used book sale on the West Coast, enjoy free pizza (sign up for set-up day!) scope out the loot before the crowds and score a $10 coupon for every 4 hours you put in.

It takes a village to raise a Big Book Sale and we need your help! Bring a friend, have some fun, and take home free books. To sign up please contact our Manager of Volunteer Services and Outreach, Kristina Kearns at Kristina.Kearns@friendssfpl.org or sign up online here.



Member Preview Sale & Reception: Wine, Treats & 1st Access!

Arial ShotThere are a host of reasons why you should join Friends and support the San Francisco Public Library. And at the top of the list? Tickets to attend the exclusive Member Preview Sale & Reception for the upcoming 6th Annual Spring Big Book Sale! Members are invited to access the sale the evening before it goes public on Tuesday, March 29th from 4 – 8 PM.  You’ll get a sneak peek of all the goods (over 250,000 books & media in over 75 categories!) while enjoying a glass of wine and tasty treats. Items are priced at $3 or less and all proceeds support the San Francisco Public Library.

Check out all the awesome membership benefits and join online today, in-person in our Readers Bookstores, or at-the-door of the event on March 29th. The will-call table will be set beginning at 2 PM.

For questions about membership, please get in touch with our new Manager of Membership and Development Services, Mario Lemos (welcome, Mario!) at Mario.Lemos@friendssfpl.org or (415) 477-5231.