San Francisco Public Library Exterior It took an act of the California congress – the Rogers Act of 1878 – and the advocacy of Andrew Hallidie, inventor of the cable car, to create San Francisco’s first public library in 1879. In those days, only men were hired as librarians.

Today – a few buildings and librarians (both male and female) later – the grand SF main library  stands at 100 Larkin St., opposite the Civic Center. This latest, 376,000 square ft. incarnation opened in 1996 and should stand for many years. Factoid: The library was featured in the 1998 film City of Angels ironically about its rival city, Los Angeles.

Why Visit the Library?
San Francisco Public Library exhibit poster for A La Vie In addition to books and the expected library collections, a Children’s Reading Room, research areas, and computers, the city’s main library hosts free exhibits, classes, lectures, and other events.
I visited and can recommend as current exhibit occupying the Skylight Gallery on the sixth floor. It is “Alive! Children of Buchenwald.”  This photo and text exhibit relates the lives of a few of the 600 boys who survived this Nazi concentration camp in a barrack set up by the camp’s Jewish underground and will be up until March 15, 2015.San Francisco Public Library Interior

On January 27 (International Holocaust Remembrance Day) there will be a screening of the documentary “The Boys of Buchenwald” film screening. 6 p.m. at Koret Auditorium.

San Francisco Public Library InteriorWhile you’re there, be sure to explore the building’s architecture, which features a five-story central atrium, bridges, an auditorium, and a grand staircase rises four stories, and a lit wall installation inscribed with the names of more than a hundred authors. The building’s interior is crowned by a spiraling window – which resembles the eye of a hurricane.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *