Saturday, December 18, 2010

ABCs of Digital Scanning Microfilm

The Magazines & Newspapers Center will host another hands-on demonstration workshop to introduce you to digital scanning techniques for 35MM microfilm and microfiche periodicals found in our collection. Please attend and participate as we scan, capture, edit and save archival images in the microfilm room on the Fifth Floor of the Main Library.

-Address:100 Larkin (at Grove)
-Location:Main Library, Fifth Floor, Magazines & Newspapers Center, Microfilm Room
-Event Date and Time:Monday, December 20, 2010 (Noon to 1 pm)

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Bay Citizen - a new SF Bay Area news source

If you have been searching for more coverage of local news, the Bay Citizen may help you with your informational needs.

From the mission statement:

"The mission of The Bay Citizen is to enhance civic and community news coverage in the Bay Area, stimulate innovation in journalism, and foster civic engagement.

Across the nation, the field of journalism and access to local news about civic and cultural issues are in jeopardy.

In the Bay Area, local newspapers have cut their newsrooms by nearly 50% in the last five years. And coverage of civic news topics – including education, government, the environment, science, health, and arts – have been cut dramatically compared to topics such as sports and entertainment.

Professional journalism is worth saving. The Bay Citizen aims to provide unbiased and independent coverage of news, which we believe is critical to a functioning democracy and the information health of our communities."

For more information about the Bay Citizen (including the nature of its relationships with the New York Times and the UC Berkeley School of Journalism), take a look at their FAQ page.

Here are some examples of the fascinating articles by the reporters at Bay Citizen:

Bold Ideas Inspire New Life for Magazines by Jeanne Carstensen
The magazine as form being revitalized as evidenced by Longshot (delivered as a print on demand product through MagCloud) and Pop-Up Magazine (magazine as live action theater).

On Gold Coast, a Legacy of Low Taxes by Elizabeth Lesly Stevens
An article describing the discrepancies in the amount of property tax owed on some of the City's most valuable domestic properties. The article includes an interactive graphic that shows a portion of Broadway with pictures of houses together with their estimated current value, their assessed value, and property tax.

In Tough Times, Grandpa Pushes Pills by Shoshana Walter
The economic downturn and the increasing street demand for prescription drugs has broadened the demographics of the "drug dealer" in the Tenderloin area of San Francisco.

Mark Twain, Bay Area Man Around Town by Thalia Gigerenzer
This article gives a brief description of Twain's history and writing while in California (including a stint at the San Francisco Daily Morning Call). Part of a series of articles that celebrates the recent publication of yet another edition of Twain's biography.

Monday, November 15, 2010

ABCs of Digital Scanning Print Documents

Join us as we demonstrate easy digital scanning techniques for legal documents, government records, private papers, historical manuscripts, and more. Bring some materials to scan. See you there!

- Address: 100 Larkin Street (at Grove)
- Location: Main Library, Fifth Floor, Magazines & Newspapers Center, Microfilm Room
- Event Date & Time: Monday, November 22, 2010 (Noon - 1 p.m.)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Reading the Giants

As the San Francisco Giants enters the big leagues to face off the Texas Rangers in the World Series, many baseball fans in the San Francisco Bay Area are already gearing up for the upcoming games, rain or shine. In honor of this rare event, the Magazines & Newspapers Center highlights the Giants magazine devoted to San Francisco's favorite baseball team.

Published quarterly, the Giants magazine contains feature articles about the San Francisco Giants baseball team and its players. In each issue, you'll find full-color profiles on various team members, close-up batting, pitching, and action shots from past games, behind the scenes tidbits, an events calendar for upcoming games and related Giants community activities, and more.

To keep up with latest news on the SF Giants, check out SF Gate's sports news page which highlights new developments as they occur through news feeds, fan forums, blogs, and tweets.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Early San Francisco Newspapers on Microfilm


Part One

An immediate consequence of the discovery of gold on the American River near the village of Coloma in January of 1848, was the insatiable regional and national demand for all manner of topical news emanating from the faraway west and San Francisco - the gateway to the mines. Most of the early San Francisco newspapers were earnest, often threadbare and not a little bit parochial; most actively sought to play ball with the vested interests of the day. Yet there was one paper that was as much a journal as the means to a singular mission, founded with indomitable courage and all the axioms of the righteous.

C. O. Gerberding & Company launched the SAN FRANCISCO DAILY EVENING BULLETIN on October 8, 1855. James King of William, disillusioned banker, ex-prospector and former member of the original Committee of Vigilance, acted as the source of editorial vengeance. He zealously assailed crooked financiers, political opportunists, rioters, gamblers, moneyed influence peddlers, strike goons, houses of prostitution, graft, bribery, corruption and election fraud. The BULLETIN's fervent campaign on behalf of civic reform caused an immediate public sensation, and the daily edition progressively expanded to some 6-7,000 copies in the first six months. King was nothing if not forthright, placing his work ethic and publishing philosophy front and center:

". . . . an editor who cannot stop in the middle of one of the finest trains of thought that he is putting on paper, to minute the dimensions of a huge pumpkin, write an advertisement of a dog lost, enter the name of a new subscriber, or receive pay for an old one, to take a cow hiding for something he has said, and after all resume the thread of his discourse, and carry out the idea in its original force and beauty, is next to no editor at all . . . ."

James King had himself been a witness and victim to corrupt business practices and unscrupulous dealings in the banking industry prior to becoming a journalist, and he utilized the powerof the press and the platform of the BULLETIN for the excoriation of the Palmer, Cook and Company banking house, I. C. Woods (caretaker of the bankrupt Adams & Company), United States Senator David C. Broderick, and other city newspapers thought to be compliant in the city and statewide corruption.

San Franciscans responded wholeheartedly, sensing hope and redress in the defiant language and pugnacious stance of the new DAILY EVENING BULLETIN:

"in California still it may be said, that rogues and villains make their daily bread . . . but who would dare these villains to expose in public print and make so many foes? . . . .Yes, now we have a friend who dare speak out, the BULLETIN explains their whereabouts . . . ."

From an office on the southeast corner of Merchant and Montgomery, the BULLETIN battled "shoulder-strikers, ballot-box stuffers, and political vagabonds generally in the city", and advocated the formation of chartered banks and oversight regulation by the state legislature - tall demands from a modest, four-page crusading tabloid locked in fierce sales competition with the ALTA CALIFORNIA, the HERALD, the PICTORIAL TOWN TALK, the GLOBE, and the CALIFORNIA CHRONICLE.

The vigorous James King had become, in a very short time, a renowned and fearless champion and folk hero for the law-abiding and the previously fearful; this was a man who labored to expose and throw out politicians who were no better than pirates of the mainland:

"A man, unworthy to serve the humblest citizen in the land, has filled the highest office in the gift of the people. Judges have sat on the bench, whose more appropriate station would have been the prison house. Men, without one particle of claim . . . have filled the posts of Mayor and Councilmen in this city, for the sole purpose of filling their pockets with the ill-gotten gains of their nefarious schemes, their pilfering and dishonesty . . . ."

American-style civic reform, it has been observed, usually stems from a bad societal conscience - in search of a good night's sleep. What the firebrand James King began in the pages of the DAILY EVENING BULLETIN would play out in a firestorm of public outcry and vigilante justice that transformed San Francisco on the eve of the American civil war - and the catalytic event was the murder and martyrdom of James King himself, on May 14, 1856.

To be continued . . .

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Next Reads

So you've already finished reading the San Francisco's One City, One Book selection this year and want to find something else to whet your literary appetite? Look no further, for you can subscribe to Next Reads and read e-newsletters that highlight books from your favorite genres and subject areas. Reviews span across various works including mystery, science fiction, romance, thrillers and suspense, biography and memoir, armchair travel, and more. Even better, find the books right from the library at one of your local branches. To learn about books set in San Francisco, works by local authors, and announcements of selected upcoming literary readings, try San Francisco Interest. Curious about featured events, exhibits, and the latest happenings at the library? Check out Exhibitions and Programming.

And just in time for the literary scene, don't forget to drop by the LitQuake events happening at the library this month. For more resources and activities for the bibliophile in you, check out San Francisco Reader's Corner.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Turbo Charge Your Google Searching Skills

On Saturday, October 2, 2010, from 2 to 3:30, turbo charge your Google searching skills from this presentation offered by the Magazines & Newspapers Center.

When searching for information on the Web, many people simply "Google it," but rarely tap into Google's advanced search options. In this presentaion, go beyond the basic search box and learn how to use special operators to fine-tune your search strategies and customize your search results. Unlock some of the hidden features and shortcuts in this popular search engine. Search more precisely, smarter, and faster.

-Address: 100 Larkin Street (at Grove)
-Location: Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Community Meeting Room
-Event Date & Time: Saturday, October 2, 2010 (2 to 3:30 p.m.)

Monday, September 20, 2010

ABCs of Digital Scanning Photos

The Magazines and Newspapers Center presents an encore demonstration workshop featuring digital scanning techniques for photographs, slides, negatives and transparencies.

Patrons are encouraged to participate as we digitize images from various media. Our class meets in the microfilm room of the Fifth Floor Magazines and Newspapers Center. Bring family snapshots, slides, negatives!

100 Larkin Street (at Grove)
Main Library, Fifth Floor, Magazines & Newspapers Center, Microfilm Room
-Event Date & Time:
Monday, September 27, 2010 (Noon to 1 p.m.)

Saturday, September 18, 2010



Many of the early San Francisco newspapers came into existence and went just as fast - it was the readers who stayed. The denizens of the new city consumed commerce bulletins, compared auctioneers' advertisements, studied steamship schedules and public notices, evaluated price lists for dry goods, posted body, soul and worldly belongings in personal classifieds, and gleaned the latest gold and silver mining news - all of which filled the text-only pages of the pioneer publications of San Francisco in the days of early settlement and statehood. By the end of 1850, San Francisco could boast of no less than five daily newspapers - all competing in cutthroat fashion in a turbulent local economy whose very foundation rested on equal parts ferment, gambling and speculation. The number of dailies rose to eight in early 1851, fell to only two a year later, then expanded to an even dozen by the end of 1853.

The first Pacific coast evening paper, the DAILY EVENING PICAYUNE debuted with the August 3, 1850 issue. Published Monday through Saturday by Dr. John Hancock Gihon & Co., the PICAYUNE was guided editorially by former San Francisco Sub-Prefect P. A. Brinsmade and erstwhile attorney W. W. Shepard. The paper lost no time in championing the miraculous enterprise of lusty pioneers and a city of destiny, rising to a rendezvous with greatness:

"In little more than one year almost the entire town has sprung, like magic, into existence. During that period, too, it has twice been nearly destroyed by fire, but it has each time suddenly arisen, Phoenix-like, from its ashes, with additional strength and beauty. There is unquestionably existing a spirit among our citizens superior to all difficulties, capable of leaping every obstacle, and of achieving any great undertaking . . . ." August 5, 1850

Within three weeks, the PICAYUNE had its first big scoop. On the morning of August 23, 1850, the steamer California docked in the bay, bringing with it news of the death of President Zachary Taylor. That afternoon, black borders framed the front page of the Daily Evening Picayune, detailing a national story the morning papers didn't carry until the next day.

Always topical, the Picayune took pains to laud the civilizing tendencies of 'virtuous females' in the growing city, offered approval of various public works projects (such as the 'grading and planking of the principal thoroughfares of the city'), saluted the opening of the Union Hotel (and approved its subsequent moratorium on in-house gambling a month later), and alluded toward big dreams of California independent nationhood:

"No people can lay under the uncompensated exactions which have, for the years past, been forced upon us; and the people are with great plausibility, familiarizing their minds with the idea, long entertained and boldly promulgated before the close of the Mexican War, by those now in places of executive power and legislative influence at Washington - that united with Oregon . . . . we may build up here a great western Republic, independent of the world beside."

The Daily Evening Picayune building, plant and editorial team of Shepard and Brinsmade were all effectively lost in the fire of May 4, 1851. Following the resignation of the old regime, the paper resumed later that month ( on May 27th) under the helm of lifelong journalist Andrew C. Russell (Sacramento Union, Los Angeles Star) and political dilettante Charles S. Biden. Though not overtly political journalists or firebrands, Biden and Russell nonetheless expressed devout Whig leanings in many editorials. Russell himself survived two separate duels (pistols and knives)fought with offended parties in 1851-52.

Amongst other interesting features which appeared in the early newspapers published in San Francisco were the special columns and sections devoted to the many non-English immigrant settlers, particularly those toiling in the mines. The DAILY EVENING PICAYUNE ran a regular feature in French by 33-year-old Etienne Derbec, a former contributor to the Journal des Debats. Derbec gained a loyal following, and later published the first-ever French and Spanish newspaper in San Francisco, L'Echo du Pacifique and El Eco del Pacifico.

Operating under a spate of different owners during its final year (which included A. M. Macy, George O'Doherty, Sanford Biden and others), the PICAYUNE experienced financial difficulties severe enough to put it out of business. O'Doherty himself, in the role of proprietor, looked ahead to the time when the gold and silver would someday run out:

"The impression for some time has been steadily gaining ground, that the real basis of prosperity in California is her agriculture; that however great the amount of wealth drawn from her mines, it is her soil which is to make her a state."

The final issue ran on April 17, 1852, and the paper was subsequently absorbed by the SAN FRANCISCO TIMES. Though short-lived, this fascinating journal offers the historian unique, contemporary insights to the early development of the city, from vigilance committees to fire companies to culture and arts.

Visitors to the San Francisco Public Library may view historical issues of the DAILY EVENING PICAYUNE in the Fifth Floor microfilm room, and in the San Francisco History Center.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

On Hannibal's Trail: Biking the Alps

The Magazines & Newspapers Center of the San Francisco Public Library presents a program of history, travel, and unforgettable adventure!

Join us as BBC correspondent Danny Wood recounts Hannibal's war against Rome (circa 218 BCE), featuring a 2,000-mile journey of armored men and elephants - a trek that history has never forgotten. Relive the adventure in the modern day as Danny Wood and his two brothers follow the ancient footsteps of Hannibal - from Iberia, across the Pyrenees and the Alps - this time on bicycles!

- Address: 100 Larkin Street (at Grove)
- Location: Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Community Meeting Room
- Event Date and Time: Saturday, September 18 (10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Honoring 100 Years of the Filipino American Experience

This month, the Magazines & Newspapers Center highlights two titles--Filipinas and Maganda--two magazines that showcase the historical, cultural, social, and artistic achievements of Filipinos worldwide.

Filipinas – A nationally-circulating monthly magazine written for “Filipinos worldwide,” Filipinas covers Philippine history, culture, community issues, personalities, travel and business, food, and more. This magazine serves as “a venue where Filipino Americans can shed their collective invisibility in mainstream America and finally be recognized.” Each issue covers feature articles on people from the Filipino community, a calendar of events, reflections on Philippine history and culture, and more.

Maganda - An annual student-run publication based at the University of California, Berkeley, this journal features "a vital forum for the presentation of diverse experiences and opinions through all platforms for creativity–including art, prose, poetry, film, music, journalism and scholarly writing." Content includes a pastiche of personal narratives and essays, original poems, photographs, illustrations, paintings, and more.

Also, the Filipino American Center at the Main Library launches Singgalot (The Ties That Bind)--an exhibition and series of programs focusing on Philippine and Filipino American culture and history. This exhibit and its related programs runs from August 14 to October 24 in the Jewett Gallery located at the Main Library, Lower Level. A coinciding exhibit--Baha--showcases the stylized paintings of artist Brent Bataclan depicting a flood that struck Manila and other islands in the Philippines in September 2009. This exhibit, currently running until October 28, portrays the "heroism, resilience and compassion of the Filipino people during this seemingly insurmountable ordeal."

Learn about the thriving Filipino community through a series of diverse educational and literary programs featuring artists, educators, musical performers, poets, and scholars as Singgalot (The Ties That Bind) makes it way to the San Francisco Public Library over the next two months.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

New Book on Henry R. Luce

Alan Brinkley has recently written a biography on Henry R. Luce, founder of Time, Life, and Fortune magazines entitled The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century.

Here is an excerpt from Bill Keller's April 22, 2010 review in the New York Times that illustrates why the life of Luce can be seen as a fascinating and relevent topic to anyone with an interest in journalism and the role of mass media:

"Of all the arguments under way these days at the noisy crossroads of the news business, none is quite so basic as the debate over journalistic authority — who has it, and what it is worth.

On one side . . . is a view that the democratizing power of the Internet has rendered traditional forms and values of journalism obsolete, and with them, not incidentally, the idea that people should pay for news. Alan Rusbridger, the editor of The Guardian of London, observed recently that the old world in which journalists were trusted to filter and prioritize the news is now in tension with 'a world in which many (but not all) readers want to have the ability to make their own judgments; express their own priorities; create their own content; articulate their own views; learn from peers as much as from traditional sources of authority.' Among the more utopian partisans of this wisdom-of-the-crowd view, the reliance on professional journalists is seen as elitist and stifling.

On the other side is a conviction that a significant population of serious people feel the need for someone with training, experience and standards — reporters and editors — to help them dig up and sort through the news, identify what’s important and make sense of it. That in no way precludes enlisting the audience as commentators, as contributors and as collaborators . . . But in this view . . . the authority of professional journalists is both a valuable convenience for readers without the time or inclination to manage a tsunami of information on their own, and a civic good, in that a democracy needs a shared base of trustworthy information upon which to make its judgments.

Henry R. Luce can be considered a founding father of the authority school — for better and for worse."

Considering the role these magazines have played in documenting history and remembering events, it may be insightful to consider the man and his aims and how they may have manifested themselves in our collective memory through these pages.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Underground Newspapers on Microfilm


In contrast to the commercial press, the underground tabloids and broadsheets of the 1960s openly addressed relevant local issues such as racial segregation, police and government repression, graft, metropolitan corruption and middle class complacency. Few were as deliberately subjective as the controversial OPEN CITY, or as non-objective as an active participant in the very news it covered in and around the streets of Los Angeles.

First published May 6, 1967, OPEN CITY was subtitled, "Weekly Review of the Los Angeles Renaissance." As conceived by the brilliant editor/publisher (and self-described loose cannon) John Bryan, who financed the paper out of his own pocket,

"OPEN CITY will not write just for an underground readership. We are very much interested in what happens within the greater community and intend to report issues which affect everyone . . . . we are especially interested in covering those areas of conflict which the sell-out daily press so nervously ignores, those areas where angry and determined minorities continue to challenge the worst contemporary madness and injustice."

John Bryan's OPEN CITY opposed the persecution and discrimination of all minority groups, including African Americans, Chicanos, homosexuals, hippies, young people, feminists, war protesters, and more. Indeed, the paper viewed diverse minorities as a constituency readership. Coverage of sexual topics was frank and graphic; the paper made extensive use of colored inks and used uninhibited language in presenting a wide range of combative topics on the order of entertainment, drugs, the draft, the police, and sex in all its forms. As the title indicated, OPEN CITY celebrated diversity as the highest expression of freedom within a paradigm pitting an oppressive mainstream against an embattled underground.

Associate editor Robert Garcia penned an outstanding series dealing with the skid row area of South Main Street in Los Angeles. A special issue (September 14-20, 1967) devoted to marijuana and drug issues was reprinted throughout the United States. Robert Igriega produced a three-part series on race, including a groundbreaking report on jailhouse rape. OPEN CITY employed John Bryan's wife Joan Barr Bryan (Philadelphia Museum School alumni) as art director (teaming with Larry Gaynor for some far-out and uninhibited graphic illustration); she also authored the Supermother's "Cooking With Grass" feature, which provided culinary recipes for marijuana. The "Notes of a Dirty Old Man" column was Charles Bukowski's prose column; he also wrote numerous other OPEN CITY feature stories.

The upbeat "Making It" feature was by Jerry Hopkins. Additional contributors included James Anderson, Harry Weber, Derek Taylor, Richard Whitehall, Ralph Gleason, Antonia Lamb, and photographer Al Gillen. The bi-weekly OPEN CITY peaked with a circulation close to 35,000 copies. Contemporaneous with DISTANT DRUMMER and ROLLING STONE, OPEN CITY was noted for its coverage of rock music and psychedelic culture. The paper met a premature death following the arrest of John Bryan on obscenity charges, and the resultant $1000 fine all but finished off this bold publication venture, effectively shutting OPEN CITY down in mid-March of 1968. Ironically, Bryan and the paper found vindication in a later high court ruling. In requiem, the underground LOS ANGELES FREE PRESS noted in an editorial,

"The establishment didn't like OPEN CITY. It saw too much and said too much. It performed a very vital function while it lived. It let voices be heard which too often were smothered in the press and hurry up of everyday. Where OPEN CITY died another must spring up. There's room in this town and this society for more than one alternate voice paper."

This is the third in a series spotlighting the hip and radical specialized literature of the 1960s. Visit the Magazines and Newspapers Center on the fifth floor and the San Francisco History Center (on the sixth floor of the Main) for a look at our comprehensive Underground Newspaper Microfilm Collection.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Centennial Celebration of a Historical San Francisco Landmark

Photo courtesy of San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library

From which village in China did you come? How many houses are there in your row? Which direction does your house face? How many steps lead up to your house? How many windows are there in your house? Imagine if you were a Chinese immigrant, detained at the Angel Island Immigration Station in the early 20th century. These are the types of questions you would be expected to answer--one right after the next--and if you happened to pause, stutter, or forget, you could be instantly deported back to China.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Angel Island Immigration Station. You can read articles from that time period in the San Francisco Chronicle Historical database. To access this electronic resource:

1. Go to the SFPL home page, and under the eLibrary tab, select "Articles & Databases." You will need a San Francisco Public Library card to access databases from outside of the library.

2. Scroll down the list and select San Francisco Chronicle Historical.

3. In the search boxes, enter keywords such as "angel island" and "chinese."

4. You will see a list of headlines whose articles contain the keywords entered in step 3. To read the article, simply click on the headline. Or, if you wish, click "Abstract" to read a summary of the article along with its citation, "Page map" to see the entire page on which the article appears," or "Article page - PDF" to get a clipping of the article.

The San Francisco Chronicle Historical archives digitized articles from the San Francisco Chronicle dating from approximately 1865 to 1922. This searchable database offers a wide range of news articles capturing the social, political, and current events during the late 19th and early 20th century in San Francisco.

Finally, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Angel Island, the Chinese Center of the San Francisco Public Library in association with the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation will present "Angel Island: the Shanghai Connection" on Wednesday, July 21, at 6 p.m. at the Main Branch of the San Francisco Public Library.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

San Francisco City Directories on SF Genealogy


Some time ago, the Internet Archive digitized a substantial portion of the San Francisco city directories online. In our previous posting, the collection ranged from 1850 to 1953. Since then, even more directories up to 1982 have been scanned and uploaded to the Web. For quick access to a listing of these city directories, follow these steps:

1. Point your browser to SF Genealogy.

2. Select San Francisco County.

3. Select Quicklinks.

4. Select Directories (online).

5. Scroll down the screen to "" to find a chronological listing of San Francisco city directories in digitized format.

Founded and maintained by Pamela Storm and Ron Filion, SF Genealogy strives to provide "free Internet access to genealogical and historical information for San Francisco, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the State of California." Includes birth, death, and marriage records transcribed from historic newspapers.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Following World Cup 2010

Held this time in the country of South Africa, the World Cup football tournament of 2010 will be on the minds of many in the months of June and July. This year SFPL patrons will have a couple of unique options to follow the action.

Particularly exciting for visitors to the Main Library is the prospect of watching the games via large projection screens in the City's Civic Center Plaza. It is likely, depending on how the screens are set up, that one could watch the game from the Library's cubicles facing the Plaza. This could be an important fact to know when planning a work time trip to the library for "research." A schedule of the games shown can be found here.

Another keen way of keeping informed about the tournament is to use the Library's PressDisplay newspaper database to read the current day's newspapers. This database contains the newspapers of 24 of the 32 countries represented so you can see how the folks at home are responding to their team's performance. This is a perfect opportunity to get a really good grasp of how much the world lives (and dies) by its soccer.

Games begin on June 11 with the final match being contested a month later on July 11.

Friday, June 18, 2010

ABCs of Digital Scanning Microfilm

The Magazines and Newspapers Center is presenting an encore demonstration workshop featuring digital scanning techniques for 35MM microfilm and microfiche periodicals. We encourage patrons to attend and participate in the digitization of archival images from the SFPL serials collection!

: 100 Larkin Street (at Grove)
: Main Library, Fifth Floor, Magazines & Newspapers Center, Microfilm Room
-Event Date and Time
: Monday, June 21, 2010 (Noon to 1PM)

Friday, June 11, 2010

American Chinatown: Transformations of an Ethnic Community

Chinatown--a longstanding ethnic enclave that has evolved and expanded throughout various parts of the United States--is the topic of journalist and author Bonnie Tsui's American Chinatown. Tsui's book explores several Chinatowns from the oldest to the newest from San Francisco to Las Vegas, documenting anecdotes and experiences from the perspective of the people. She will also discuss how her travel magazine and newspaper writing led her to the creation of this book.

Presented by the Magazines & Newspapers Center and sponsored by the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, this author reading and book signing takes place on Thursday, June 17, 2010. Find more information about Bonnie Tsui's book from her Web site (

- Address: 100 Larkin Street (at Grove)
- Location: Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Community Meeting Room
- Event Date and Time: Thursday, June 17 (6 - 8 p.m.)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Underground Newspapers on Microfilm: Peninsula Observer

"We are firmly committed to printing the truth about events in the Midpeninsula area and elsewhere, no matter how many people howl because we do."

An offspring of "Vietnam Summer" at Stanford University, the PENINSULA OBSERVER first appeared on July 7, 1967 and was co-founded by Barry Greenberg and David Ransom. Originally called the MIDPENINSULA OBSERVER, this underground title drew on prior Free University project publishing efforts and sought meaningful societal change. Avidly read in the Palo Alto and Stanford University environs, the OBSERVER featured some outstanding journalism.

Among other highlights, this newspaper ran an August 12, 1968 piece by Robert Coats and Gina Rivera, revealing valid conflict of interest irregularities against the chairman of the Board of Commissioners of Santa Clara County. David Ransom (Harvard graduate and SDS member) analyzed the war research activities of the Stanford Research Institute and produced a series of articles that resulted in sit-in demonstrations, massive protests, and the eventual severing of ties between the University and the independent Institute.

With anti-Vietnam War efforts as a focal point, the PENINSULA OBSERVER staff (composed of educated community members, graduate students and others) strongly opposed the presence of ROTC on the Stanford campus and sought to clarify and expose the many links between big business, the University, and the Pentagon war machine. Other memorable features included an in-depth critical study of Stanford President Kenneth Ptizer, a special issue on air pollution, and an examination of the Black Panther Party's "United Front Against Fascism" (July 28, 1969). The bi-monthly OBSERVER maintained close ties with the Palo Alto area radical high school movement, and frequently interceded in print for the underserved members of the community. The paper spoke out courageously on environmental, transportation, and urban renewal issues, conducting several very effective investigations of nefarious local construction projects.

A revolving cast of editors included Randy Bonner, Marlene Charyn (ex-Syracuse University), Peter Dolinger, David Shen, Maureen Kulbaitis, and Joanne Wallace. The OBSERVER posted upcoming local events on its "Happenings" page, and regular political editorials ran under "Polemicus." Circulation ran in the range of about 5,000 copies per issue, with the paper relying on patron donations and limited amounts of advertising revenue to cover operating costs. An important and ambitious intellectual watchdog publication, the PENINSULA OBSERVER remains one of the most well-written underground papers of its era; the paper folded quietly in November 1969.Check out the Underground Newspapers collection on microfilm at the Main Branch of the San Francisco Public Library and rediscover the experimental journalism of the 1960s.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

ABCs of Digital Scanning Photographs

Another hands-on demonstration workshop designed to introduce patrons to the digital scanning of photographs, negatives, slides, and film. We will scan, capture, edit and save images in the microfilm room of the Magazines and Newspapers Center on the fifth floor of the Main Library.

- Address: 100 Larkin Street (at Grove)
- Location: Main Library, Fifth Floor, Magazines & Newspapers Center, Microfilm Room
- Event Date & Time: Monday, May 24, 2010 (Noon - 1 p.m.)

Friday, May 14, 2010


The annual Asian Heritage Street Celebration in San Francisco takes place on Saturday, May 15th near the Main Branch of the San Francisco Public Library. Last year, in honor of the annual observerance, we highlighted a selection of our Asian Pacific American titles from the Magazines & Newspapers Center. This year, we would like to introduce you to Koreana, a quarterly magazine focusing on Korean art and culture.

Koreana covers Korean traditional and contemporary arts. Sample content includes feature articles on cultural issues and artistic trends, literary, music, and dance reviews, cuisine and arts of living, interviews with Korean artists and architects, and more.

And if you happen to drop by the Main Library, be sure to check out comic strips that examine the "changing social realities of Korean society from the 1950s through the 1990s" in an exhibit entitled "Korean Comics: A Society through Small Frames" which currently runs till June 13.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

ABCs of Digital Scanning Microfilm

The Magazines and Newspapers Center presents an encore demonstration workshop featuring digital scanning techniques for 35MM microfilm and microfiche periodicals.

ABCs of Digital Scanning Microfilm

Monday December 20th - Noon to 1 pm

Patrons are encouraged to participate as we digitize archival images from the SFPL serials collection. Our class meets in the microfilm room of the Fifth Floor Magazines and Newspapers Center. Historians, genealogists, and hobbyists welcome!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Magazines You Can Check Out

The Magazines & Newspapers Center literally has hundreds of magazines you can browse and peruse through in our Reading Room, but you can only read them while you are in the library. Are you aware, however, that we also have a Circulating Periodicals Collection? Instead of staying at the library, you can actually check magazines out as you normally do with other library items--up to 3 weeks!

At the Main Library, go to the 1st floor and there you'll find our Circulating Periodicals Collection. Or even better, visit your local branch library, and you'll find a wider selection of titles there. To see if your branch library carries a particular title, follow these steps:

1. Go to the SFPL home page and run a search for a title such as Vogue.

2. Next, you'll see a page of search results. Go ahead and select Vogue or just click on Show library holdings, and you'll pull up the full record:

3. Scroll down the record and look for a section that says "Library Has," and you'll find a list of branch libraries that carry back issues of Vogue.

The Magazines & Newspapers Center has many more titles that do not circulate, so you are more than welcome to drop by anytime to peruse our collection.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Power Googling: Searching Smarter and Faster

On Saturday, May 8, 2010 from 2-3:30 p.m., the Magazines & Newspapers Center will present a workshop--"Power Googling: Searching Smarter and Faster"--where you can sharpen your Web searching skills using Google.

When searching for information on the Web, many people simply "Google it," but rarely tap into Google's advanced search functions. In this workshop, prepare to explore and unlock some of Google's hidden features and resources, fine-tune your searches with prefix operators and "hacks," manipulate search results, and unleash the full power of this popular search engine.

-Address: 100 Larkin Street (at Grove)
-Location: Main Library, Fifth Floor Training Center
-Event Date & Time: Saturday, May 8, 2010 (2 to 3:30 p.m.)

Friday, April 30, 2010

137 years of Popular Science - now available online

Popular Science recently announced that 137 years of its back issue archive is now available online through Google Book Search. If you access the archive through Google Book Search, you can browse through the issues and covers all in one place.

While at the Google site you can also browse through other magazine archives, including Ebony, Men's Health, and Spin.

However, if you prefer to view the print version of Popular Science, come by the Magazines & Newspapers Center.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

ABCs of Digital Scanning - Microfilm

The Magazines and Newspapers Center is hosting another hands-on, beginning workshop to introduce digital scanning techniques for 35mm microfilm and periodical microfiche found in our collection. Please plan to attend and participate as we work together to scan, capture, edit, and save archival text and images!

-Address: 100 Larkin Street (at Grove)

-Location: Main Library, Fifth Floor, Magazines & Newspapers Center, Microfilm Room

-Event Date and Time: Monday, April 26, 2010 (Noon to 1PM)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Underground Newspapers on Microfilm: San Francisco Oracle

The Underground Newspaper Microfilm Collection in the San Francisco Public Library, Main Branch, comprises a twentieth century revolution in graphic arts, journalism, politics, morality and culture. The reporters, editors, idealists, students, activists, crusaders and adventurers who created the alternative print culture of the 1960s were the original dreamers; precursors to the electronic architects of counter-culture Internet media today. In a time of growing social, political, and philosophical polemics, the San Francisco Oracle was born from the need to express a more visual and transcendent cultural radicalism.

Or, as co-founder Allen Cohen once said, "The Oracle was not planned, it was discovered."

Merging the Haight-Ashbury community it served with experimental graphics and journalism in tune with an acid-tinged Orientalia redolent of pacifism and generational promise, the Oracle was a triumph of both quixotic impracticality and newly-available offset printing. With the ability to bring 'camera ready' pages (heavy on the art and graphics, lighter on the text) to an offset print shop at drastically reduced rates (far less than the old letterpress costs of operation), the monthly Oracle was an immediate creative and countercultural citywide success by late Fall of 1966. Artistically peaking with original run issues #4 through #12, the Oracle embraced the talents of Steve Levine, Travis Rivers, Gabe Katz and many others who wrote and designed the paper on site in the Haight at Jay and Rod Thelin's Psychedelic Shop. This fleeting period of seventeen months coincided with San Francisco's 'flower-power' era, and the Oracle bled with illuminated rainbows of split fountain colors and blossomed with an almost utopian insistence . . . .

It was the San Francisco Oracle that called together, on New Year's Day, 1967, the youth enmasse Golden Gate Be-in . . . "a union of love and activism...will finally occur ecstatically when Berkeley's political activists and hip community and San Francisco's spiritual generation all over California meet for a gathering of tribes . . ."

Historically tied to the first generation of underground American newspapers as much by chronology as by a hopeful and sincere spirit of community, the Oracle reflected an inexplicable vision of artful, intricate, childlike fantasy and a genuine humanist affirmation predating the psychedelics of commodity and the sort of cynical, fast food, turned-on hippie paraphernalia designed for sale to tourists. The Oracle's mission was to be "a graphic expression of man's highest ideals: music, art, ideas, prophesy, poetry and the expansion of consciousness through drugs."

To view the San Francisco Oracle (and our entire collection of Underground Newspapers) on microfilm, visit the Magazine and Newspapers Center on the fifth floor of the San Francisco Public Library, Main Branch. See also our San Francisco History Center for related items of interest.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

E-zine: Transitions Abroad

Anyone who has desires to travel, work, or learn in places far from "home" will find inspiring information at the Transitions Abroad Web site. What started first as a conventional paper magazine "transitioned" to only Web content after the Jan/Feb 2008 issue.

Here are a few examples of the types of articles one will find in each e-zine issue:
Transitions Abroad, an "alternative travel magazine for international travelers seeking work, study, living and special interest travel abroad" includes "extensive listings and up-to-date articles for independent and low-budget travel."

The Magazines & Newspapers Center has a selection of older paper issues of this periodical; the Web site has a more sizable archive of 10 years of these issues dating back to 1999.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Stir It Up -- In the Pot and on the Web: Making Media about Making Food

What do you get when you mix food in San Francisco, social media, green living ideas, and wrap it up with an assortment of Web 2.0 technologies? Find out by joining our upcoming program on April 7th when professors Melinda Stone and David Silver from the University of San Francisco stir up intriguing tales and experiments cooked up in their Media Studies classes with their students.

Stone will screen several videos from her How-To Homestead collection and discuss how student research assistants and the University's community garden play a vital role in the creation of these pieces. Silver will showcase examples of social media produced by students in Green Media--a class devoted to making media about making food.

As with last year's "When Wikipedia Meets the Library," this event is sure to spark many ideas and topics that will inspire creative food for thought.

Address: 100 Larkin Street
Location: Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Community Meeting Room
Event Date and Time: Wednesday, April 7 (6 - 7:30 p.m.)

Friday, March 19, 2010

National Women's History Month

The month of March marks the annual celebration of Women's History Month in which we honor the many accomplishments of women throughout history. From our ever-expanding collection of electronic databases, you can find information on women's issues through Contemporary Women's Issues. To access this database follow these steps:

1. Go to the SFPL home page, and under the eLibrary tab, select "Articles & Databases." You will need a San Francisco Public Library card to access databases from outside of the library.

2. Scroll down the list and select Contemporary Women's Issues - CWI.

3. Enter a topic such as "social equity":

4. You will now see some search results. Select any article to read it in its entirety.

The Contemporary Women's Issues database covers a wide range of topics and issues related to Women's Studies in various newsletters, journals, regional newspaper, and reports dating back to 1992. Sample topics include community organizations, crisis intervention, health, politics and government, pay equity, women's movement, sex roles and sex differences, and more. Note: This database allows only 2 concurrent users at any given time.

And while you're at it, don't forget to check out other library events and exhibitions taking place at the library to celebrate National Women's History Month.